UNISON fundraising for ambitious hospital orchard

Vale of Glamorgan healthcare workers organised by UNISON are today (Wednesday) lining up to have their heads shaved for charity. They are raising money towards the creation of an ambitious orchard at Llandough hospital, the first garden of its kind anywhere in the UK.

The stunt is the latest in series of projects by local UNISON members aiming to raise awareness and funds. The idea for the orchard originated with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board employee and UNISON branch chair Stuart Egan. He won the approval of senior board executives for his proposal and since then, with the help of other UNISON healthcare workers he has led the fundraising drive. In twelve months, the campaign has raised £80,000 of the required £250,000 target, which must come from charitable donations rather than the NHS.

The group head-shaving will take place at 12pm, Wednesday 21 March outside Llandough Hospital art gallery and Barry barber Yanni Asprou is in command of the clippers.

Stuart Egan said,

“Six of us are braving the cold and the potential wrath of our partners to have our locks shorn for a fantastic cause. We want the world to know about the orchard we are creating at Llandough Hospital to benefit staff, patients and their families. It will be the first of its kind in the UK, offering a place where you can get away from noisy wards, and be outside in the fresh air.

“I am UNISON’s lead health and safety representative here and in my 30 years-plus at Llandough, I’ve seen the original hospital site expand to the extent all the green spaces which might have been used by staff and visitors for peace and reflection have gone. That’s why this is so important. The orchard will be a haven to relax, have a cry or drink a coffee and you can even volunteer to help in the gardening.

“There’ll be allotments growing vegetables for use in the hospital canteens and we’ll be keeping bees. In a pioneering partnership with Cardiff university, the honey produced – and the antibacterial properties contained – will be used as a basis for research into antibiotics to help save lives.”

Those wishing to support the fundraising efforts can visit UNISON Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s just giving page.

Notes for editors

  • Those having their head shaved include: Stuart Egan – Branch Chair; Steve Gauci – Vice Chairand Mental Health Champion; Peter McCabe – Steward for Operational Services based in Llandough; Norman Mitchell – Estates Officer Llandough; Andrew Woodman – UNISON Cardiff Regional Organiser and others.
  • Further details: Our Orchard PH


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397