BEAUTIFUL gardens can make a great first impression.
And it is no different at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust where head of gardening Dave Gaffney is in charge.
Dave said: “The first thing people see when they come to any one of the buildings the trust runs is what it looks like outside.
“It is the responsibility of all five of the gardeners to make sure the gardens look attractive and tidy.
“It’s nice when we hear that visitors have complimented the way the gardens look.
“It’s a job which requires lots of time and planning, so it’s nice people recognise that we are working hard.”
Dave has worked at the Trust for more than 20 years. Most of his time is spent between the University Hospitals of Hartlepool and North Tees. He is also in charge of gardens at Peterlee Community Hospital and other buildings.
He said: “Coming to work feels like a hobby to me because it is enjoyable and rewarding.
“I am lucky in that I have always been well supported by management. If I have needed funding for new equipment I have been supported well.”
No day is ever really exactly the same.
Dave said: “No day is the same. Staff can be doing anything from sweeping litter up off the site, to carrying out projects on the site or having to use any one of our machines or vehicles.
“The winter can often be our busiest time. As the conditions get colder it takes more time and planning to keep the gardens looking good.
“We are also responsible for making sure the site is gritted when the conditions are icy.”
Associate director estates and facilities Peter Mitchell said: “Our team of gardeners do a fantastic job keeping all of our sites looking colourful and smart.
“Their work is on show for patients, visitors and staff to see – it’s the first thing people see as they approach any of our buildings and is the last thing they see as they leave.”