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Blooming marvellous plants planned for hospital

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Volunteers from ‘Halesowen in Bloom’ are planning to donate flowers to Russells Hall Hospital in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The award winning voluntary community initiative, which scooped RHS Britain in Bloom in 2018, is donating the plants to Dudley NHS Foundation Trust as part of this week’s RHS Gardening week.

Plants were ordered for Halesowen town centre’s floral displays but with many volunteers in isolation there is not the capacity to water and maintain this summer.

It has been decided they should be planted at Russells Hall Hospital instead in tribute to the staff who are working on the frontline in the fight against the virus.

The voluntary ‘Halesowen in Bloom’ organisation relies on the sponsorship of displays and given the unprecedented times they are hoping people will donate to help cover the cost of the plants, with any excess funds to be donated to the Dudley NHS Foundation Trust. 

People are also being asked to share on social media images of their gardens, rainbow plantings and what they see on their walks to build positivity a sense of community. Anyone sharing is invited to use Dudley Council’s #DudleyStaysHome – offering people across the borough the chance to stay connected during the lockdown.

Eve O’Connor, manager at Halesowen Cornbow and coordinator from Halesowen in Bloom, said:

As a community, we come together every year to produce the stunning Halesowen in Bloom display, which has achieved international award success.
Sadly due to the virus outbreak we are unable to create our usual display this year but everyone involved wants the flowers to go to good use.
We have decided to donate plants to the hospital in order to thank the amazing women and men who work in our care sector and NHS and to remind them that we are all behind them.

The flowers will be planted at the front of the hospital and in the gardens around the hospital site for staff and patients to enjoy in the summer.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

Nothing can adequately say thank you to the selfless people who are on the frontline of this fight, be they NHS workers, care staff, teachers, food supply or any of the other services we rely so much upon.
But, in a time when the coronavirus outbreak continues to test our communities, it is heartening to see community groups such as those behind Halesowen in Bloom making this beautiful tribute to the work they do.
I would like to extend my warm wishes to all who are involved in this display and once again thank those who are serving our country with such strength and courage.

Diane Wake, chief executive for The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said:

This floral gift is a wonderful gesture and, on behalf of all our staff who are supporting our patients through this difficult time, I would like to say a really big thank you to Halesowen in Bloom.
I am looking forward to seeing the flowers as they come into bloom over the coming weeks. We know the positive effects flowers and plants can have on our mood and how happy they can make us feel. The displays will give our staff a much needed boost in spirits.

People can find out more about the project and how to donate by searching for Halesowen in Bloom on Facebook.

For all the latest information on Dudley Council’s response to the coronavirus crisis including support and affected services visit www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus

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