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Greenpop partners with Stellenbosch University’s Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty to green the Helderberg Hospital

Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) is collaborating with non-profit organisation, Greenpop to establish a fynbos garden at the 83-year-old Helderberg Hospital in Somerset West and residents of the Cape Helderberg are urged to donate toward the initiative.

The FMHS and Greenpop plan to reinvigorate the hospital’s garden through landscaping and planting fynbos in front of the primary hospital building as well as on the two islands in the parking area, where there is currently no vegetation. The FMHS also has a prefabricated learning centre on the grounds of the hospital which students use as part of the faculty’s clinical rotation programme.

Professor Bob Mash, chairperson of the FMHS’ Dean’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (DACES) said the plan is to restore the local ecosystem in general, through the planting of fynbos immediately outside the hospital. “The funds we are raising will go directly toward reinvigorating the hospital garden. This includes landscaping services and acquiring fynbos for the earmarked areas.” Mash explained that gardens like the one planned at Helderberg Hospital will contribute to creating another fynbos corridor across the Cape Flats from Table Mountain.” Mash explained that the fynbos garden will enable pollinators to move and be restored which affects plants, insects and animals in the greater Western Cape region.

Ms Anita Theron, the Western Cape Government’s quality manager (Helderberg Hospital) said a fynbos garden will not only enhance the overall look of the facility, but will also assist in reducing stress and help to improve clinical outcomes in many cases. “The psychological and physical wellbeing of staff and patients are equally important. We know establishing a beautiful garden will contribute to all levels of healthcare.” Theron added that just the ability to walk or sit in a green space would help to improve both patient’s and staff’s mood and focus.

Helderberg Hospital serves the community in the Helderberg Basin – Somerset-West, Strand, Macassar, Gordon’s Bay and Sir Lowry’s Pass – and employs 344 staff members. The facility, which has a long history in this community, recently upgraded its older infrastructure to address the needs of its growing patient population. “A fynbos garden will complete our vision for a fully functioning hospital that provides excellent healthcare in a well-maintained building with a calming, mood-boosting garden, “said Theron.

The Cape Helderberg is one of the Western Cape’s most biodiverse areas boasting fynbos vistas that include Harmony Flats Nature Reserve, Helderberg Nature Reserve as well as the Macassar Dunes Conservation area. Quite a few of these areas is also home to surviving fragments of critically endangered plants.

To donate to Helderberg Hospital’s fynbos garden initiative, please visit www.givengain.com/cc/greening-the-helderberg-hospital

The Helderberg Hospital team together with Greenpop and the FMHS are having plant days on 6 and 13 August 2022. To sign up for a plant day, visit https://bit.ly/GP_FFF_HelderbergH

For more information, please contact Christine Groenewald, clgroenewald@sun.ac.za or 084 270 4489 or Carla Wessels at carla@greenpop.org or 079 262 3005

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