The grounds of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Dundee have been transformed into a Christmas wonderland thanks to the efforts of over 100 dedicated volunteers.
Normally the wards at Royal Victoria, Roxburghe House and the Centre for Brain Injury Rehabilitation are buzzing with activity at Christmas time, but the pandemic put a dampener on normal customs.
However, the team of volunteers, many of which are still not able to come into the hospital itself, were determined to make sure patients were still able to celebrate the festive season.
They have made outdoor Christmas wreaths from the greenery foraged from the hospital grounds, put up real Christmas trees in the grounds and organised outdoor entertainment.
Alison Sellars, volunteer coordinator at Roxburghe House, said: “We have such an amazing troupe of volunteers here but they can’t come in at the moment with the Covid-19 situation.
“Like any hospital there would normally be a buzz around here with Christmas trees on the wards, visitors coming and going, and volunteers making the place as festive as possible.
“But that is not happening this year and staff will be seeing to everything themselves and visiting is restricted.
“Staff are trying to keep the atmosphere as light as possible because it is still Christmas time, but we don’t have the same buzz around.
“Our floral art volunteer group do lovely displays of flowers for the wards normally and wanted to get involved in something so they have made outdoor Christmas wreaths for the patients to enjoy.
“The maintenance team cut down all the greenery and foliage from the grounds and we delivered them out to the ladies.
“Normally we have 150 volunteers here but only seven are able to attend at the moment, so the ladies were so excited to be able to take part in this.
“The displays they made were so amazing so we thought ‘what else can we do?’
“So we put out an appeal for real Christmas trees and four different companies donated one, even though times are hard for everyone.
“Everything is looking so festive here now.
“We are also doing entertainment outside with carol singers coming to the patio outside Roxburghe House, even in the horrible weather.
“And City of Dundee Pipe Band will be coming down on December 30 to play on the grass beside the Christmas trees for Hogmanay and that will be heard through the whole site.”
‘Such a great and inspiring job’
Alison said it was important everyone found a way to still celebrate Christmas this year and spread some festive cheer.
“One lady is about to celebrate her 95th birthday, which is amazing.
“This has been a horrific year for a lot of people but this is a way to still bring some festive cheer to the hospital.
“There are still ways to enhance people’s Christmas while still keeping everyone safe.
“The floral art ladies loved it so much they are now wanting to do the Christmas wreaths on a yearly basis.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, the light has definitely been switched on.”