Charity donates symbol of hope and remembrance in hospital grounds

A wishing well donated by local charity The People’s Project as a way of acknowledging the impact of the pandemic in the region has officially been given its place in the grounds of Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

The specially commissioned wood sculpture and accompanying bench are a gentle reminder of all that has been lost and endured by the people of Dumfries and Galloway and around the world and is a unique addition to the green field site hospital grounds.

Health and social care staff whose roles have meant they have continued to work on site at DGRI during the pandemic have recently begun to make use of the quiet spot in the spring weather and with daylight hours increasing. It is hoped that as restrictions ease in the months ahead, patients, staff and visitors can visit the wishing well and bench and benefit from spending time there, or simply in passing by it on a walk within the grounds.

The People’s Project approached NHS Dumfries and Galloway just weeks after the pandemic hit the UK to explore the idea of an artwork donation to acknowledge its impact on the region. They then worked in partnership with the Board’s Arts Strategy Delivery Group to come up with the idea of the specially commissioned wishing well and bench sculptures as a fitting and timeless mark of hope and remembrance.

“It is widely acknowledged that access to green spaces and being at one with nature is therapeutic and can aid the healing process. It is hoped that the largely unknown area at the rear of the hospital can boost the mental and physical health of staff and patients alike, and with the symbolic wishing well as a destination – acting as a focus for many people whose wishes may well come true.”

Mark Jardine, founder of The People’s Project

Marsali Caig, Chair of NHS D&G Arts Strategy Delivery Group, said: “This generous gift from The People’s Project is a wonderful addition to the beautiful grounds surrounding the hospital. We know that having access to green space can make a difference to the wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors.  The wishing well and accompanying squirrel bench are perfect in their semi-woodland setting and I’m sure they’ll offer visitors a quiet, natural reflective space. Our thanks go to The People’s Project for thinking of the local NHS after such a challenging year.”

Plans are under way to incorporate the area where the wishing well and bench are situated into the Board’s Health and Wellbeing / Active Travel teams directed walks; to improve and enhance physical and mental wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors.