Staff, nurses, patients, and friends in the sensory garden

We’re proud of our sensory garden, so it’s always nice to hear when others say they like it too. That’s why we are delighted to have come joint first place at the Building Better Healthcare Awards 2018  for the ‘Best External Environment Award’.

 

Sensory garden before transformation
The existing garden was in need of some TLC.

 

The competition is held each year to celebrate innovation and improvement in the built environment and medical device design and to highlight the efforts of people working in the healthcare industry.

The location of the  sensory garden was previously a mixture of uneven paving slabs and concrete surfaces that meant it was unsuitable for wheelchairs.

Every year nurses would help eager patients to get outside but it was not easy and took time. Some of the patients on the ward may not have had a chance to visit a park, or even their own garden, for some time. Nurses and health care staff knew that when patients and families could get outside they returned happier and the well-being of the ward was increased. We spent several years fundraising to allow the sensory garden project happen, including a successful crowdfunding campaign within the local community.

 

Volunteers working on the sensory garden
Supporters of the hospice gave their time and energy to bring the garden to life.

 

There is a great body of evidence which demonstrates how experience of nature is good for personal wellbeing. On sunny days especially the new sensory garden proves this – helping the ward become a more open and happy place and reducing anxiety for staff, patients and families.

The sensory garden is a calm but bright space surrounded by trees which can be configured for everything from events (including weddings!) to quiet contemplation.

Here’s what one visitor to our new sensory garden shared:
“I could sit there all day. It is a good place to be when the doctors are seeing John. We both sat outside and saw all the different birds and heard the sound of the fountain. We even saw a fox come into the garden and look around. John can’t go outside at home without help but this garden is a safe place for him. It is beautiful.”- Trudy
Modern Matron, Ellen Tumelty, commented:

“Since the garden has opened we have seen how it makes the ward so much bigger. We have a great site here overlooked by trees and now patients can get outside and see it. Nurses love it too because it helps patients relax and give extra space to families.”

 

The space was designed for us by Alex Lindsay of Evergreen Garden Design  (a Hampton Court Flower Show award-winning designer) who gave his time and expertise free. Thank you Alex!

 

Staff, nurses, patients, and friends in the sensory garden
The garden was opened in June, in time to take advantage of a glorious summer!

 

Thank you to all who contributed their time, energy and money to make this a great success that will provide benefit to many people over the years.

 

Congratulations to all involved!

 

If you’d like to get involved in helping us make even more of a difference then please take a look at our fundraising or volunteering opportunities.

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