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In with the bricks

Edinburgh Community Food’s fruit and vegetable stall is ‘very much part of the life of the hospital’ according to Susan Tennyson, Senior Charge Nurse/Advanced Practitioner, working at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Susan was interviewed by staff from Community Food and Health (Scotland) who are producing a publication about community retailing in hospitals, which will include the stall as an example of good practice. The stall is unique, being the only community-run fruit and vegetable stall operating in a psychiatric hospital in Scotland.

Open since September 2009, the stall runs every Tuesday 8.00am – 2.00pm in a busy corridor in the hospital’s administration block (McKinnon Building), selling a great range of good quality, affordable fresh fruit and vegetables. Sales from the stall have exceeded everyone’s expectations.  To ensure that staff and patients unable to visit the stall don’t miss out, patient volunteers go round the hospital’s wards to sell ‘5-a-day’ bags containing five pieces of fruit. The bags, which sell for £1, are quickly snapped up. The volunteers enjoy taking part in the work of the stall, and being part of an activity that is valued highly by everyone in the hospital.

When asked why the stall has been so successful, Susan replied that it fits in really well with other activities taking place within the hospital that aim to improve the health and well-being of both staff and patients. ECF’s willingness to take part in these activities is also important, as is having the right staff and a familiar face on the stall, especially for patients. 

ECF and the hospital are in discussions about extending the fruit and vegetable service to other areas of the hospital.

CFHS’s publication will be available on their website from late Autumn.