10 April 2024

Creating Spaces for Staff to Rest, Relax and Recharge

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We are delighted to have supported teams across the whole of NHS Lothian to create calm and comforting wellbeing spaces where they can rest, relax and recharge.

As part of our COVID-19 response and recovery plans, and supported by NHS Charities Together, Baillie Gifford and donations from supporters to our Covid-19 Appeal, we commenced ambitious plans to create dedicated wellbeing spaces for staff across Lothian. We wanted to ensure all staff, from front-line workers to support services, had a place of sanctuary, where they could go for a moment of calm, clear their head and decompress before returning to the many pressures of the job.

You can catch up for a quick chat with colleague or just chill out.”

Support and grants totalling £374,000 were provided to 117 sites.

Grants funded a wide range of developments and items such as gardens, recliner chairs, yoga mats and balls, photos and art works, garden benches, plant pots, coffee machines, kettles and cups, crockery, dehumidifier, cushions and rugs

Impact at Acute Sites

The wellbeing spaces at acute sites are well used throughout the day, with peaks at lunch, dinner and break times. They are great communal spaces for staff from a large cross-section of roles and services across the sites; administrative roles, allied health professionals, nursing roles, non-clinical support staff, medics, pharmacy and medical or nursing students.

You can catch up for a quick chat with colleagues or just chill out.”

Staff wellbeing space

Spotlight on:

Western General Hospital

The Western General Hospital welcomed staff to their new Wellbeing Wing at the end of October 2021, transforming a large, intimidating space into a warm, welcoming space for staff to unwind, reflect and connect. Staff are delighted with the area with many now heading to the Wellbeing Wing to take breaks, read their book or catch up with colleagues.

Thanks to local independent chocolate artisan, COCO Chocolatier, the walls of the Wellbeing Wing have been transformed with bright, colourful vinyls of their chocolate wrapper designs chosen by staff.

Watch the video below to see how the space has been transformed.

Midlothian Community Hospital

The team at Midlothian Community Hospital improved an existing space to make it more comfortable and welcoming, creating an oasis of calm, away from the bustling wards. A place to take stock, breathe, and simply switch off.

I want to create a space that gives our minds as well as our bodies a chance to rest.”

Kirsty Jack, Senior Charge Nurse, Midlothian Community Hospital

Impact at Community Sites

We also worked with primary care centres and community sites across NHS Lothian to improve existing staff rooms or create new spaces with more comfortable seating, soft lighting, speakers for relaxing music, and amenities such as microwaves or kettles to allow staff to have access to hot food and refreshments away from their desks.

Lunchtimes are so much more enjoyable and it allows us to completely switch off.”

We were delighted to see some sites making use of outdoor areas to create their wellbeing spaces as well. Connecting with nature can have such a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing, with spending time in the fresh air helping staff relax and be more rejuvenated during the day.

With support from our Green Health Programme Manager, we have helped teams do more and make the very best of their surroundings.

Staff love to be able to enjoy the sunshine during their breaks. Makes such a difference in their mood and general wellbeing.”


We are thrilled to have worked with so many sites, and hear their stories about how important these spaces continue to be beyond the pandemic.

Having permanent, dedicated spaces for staff has encouraged the taking of breaks, boosted morale, and helped staff to feel valued, while creating a legacy of improving staff wellbeing for many years to come.

In many locations the support of a dedicated wellbeing space has also facilitated a wider conversation about staff wellbeing and many of those who applied for wellbeing space funding have reported an increase in awareness around the importance of wellbeing activities.

Thanks to everyone who helped us make these spaces a reality. Together, we have helped give our cherished NHS staff what they need; a moment of calm to recharge.

There is much pressure on the team and a little bit of kindness goes a long way and can save someone’s day.”

Surgery team talking to a patient in theatre

Making a donation is a wonderful way to say #ThankYouNHS and help us continue to improve, change and save lives now and in the future.