Chloe Brain

Portrait of Chloe Brain

Chloe Brain

Development Worker, Royal Edinburgh Hospital
Haven: Courtyard Garden

This is where I go to take a breather, have lunch, sunbathe – it’s a very good sunbathing spot because it’s a courtyard so there’s no wind really and it gets hot, which I like. Sometimes I’ll call my mum.”

Listen to Chloe talking about their Haven

Summary transcript of audio

My name is Chloe Brain, and I’m a development worker here at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital – working for Volunteer Edinburgh. We have a wee Volunteer Centre here where we recruit public volunteers and also patient volunteers. We have people coming in, kind of every week to do a little volunteering shift, which could be anything really. The day-to-day stuff. We tailor each volunteer role to each patient and member of the public based on what they’re interested in so it could be anything from watering the plants to helping us manage the library, or study sessions, there’s a lot of different things depending on what people are into.

The special thing about this hospital is that there’s a lot of different third sector influence which includes us and ArtLink as well. So we do run gardening groups in their gardens, but they don’t necessarily belong to us. But we do lots of gardening stuff around the site – done tree planting, and, you know, all sorts of stuff.

It’s really rewarding for patients. I think not only does it give people – see, like, coming down to volunteer every week, same time every week, gives people structure and routine, when sometimes people are in here for, you know, it could be a decade. People are in here for quite a long time.  A lot of the time we work really closely with the rehab wards, and they’re kind of long-term stay. So it gives people structure, routine and a sense of kind of giving back to the community and obviously yeah, there’s the stuff in the gardens is really rewarding and I think it’s just really good for the mental health, isn’t it? Being outdoors and yeah, improving the green space.

It can get quite busy. So, we actually – one of the projects that we did was – we saw this courtyard, it was during the lockdown, my ex-colleague what she’d created this standing up desk on a windowsill she was using this standing up desk and looking out the window more than she usually would, and noticed this kind of oppressive grey stone courtyard just sitting there with like nothing alive in it. So I had the idea to kind of turn it into something nicer and it’s now a green space which we manage and that is where I go to kind of, take a breather, have lunch, sunbathe – it’s a very good sunbathing spot because it’s a courtyard so there’s no wind really and it gets hot, which I like. The heat.

We manage it, but it’s open to everybody. And it’s been really, really popular, since it’s opened. It’s been, it’s been yeah, people use it everyday, at lunch times it gets really busy in there.

I like the hustle and bustle. I like – it doesn’t need to be a quiet space for me to enjoy it because I can still just stick my headphones on and, you know, enjoy it, seeing people use it is part of what I like about it.

Listening to music. Sometimes I’ll call my mum.

Join more of our amazing NHS Lothian staff on their journey to discover their hidden havens.

Filming an NHS Lothian member of staff in the kitchens where they work