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Hospital’s garden awarded top RHS accolade

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A REMEMBRANCE garden for those living with dementia at Warrington Hospital’s Forget me Not Unit has received the top accolade in the RHS Britain in Bloom Neighbourhood Scheme.
The Forget Me Not unit is a state-of-the-art, bespoke unit providing acute care for those living with dementia. It opened in 2013 and the creation of a dedicated remembrance garden was the vision of consultant geriatrician Dr Barton, since retired. The Trust’s Charity, Warrington & Halton Hospitals Charity, took up the challenge and, coinciding with the unit’s fifth birthday, Phase 2 of the garden was finally completed.
The remembrance garden opens directly from the specialist unit and provides a relaxing environment with group seating, sheltered areas and relaxing sights, smells and sounds enhance and stimulate the patient experience. Volunteers have tended the green space since it was originally created although only part of the space was available for use. It was later extended with phase 2 works made possible by the generosity of corporate and community supporters who rallied to complete the garden with donations of materials, time and expertise totalling over £50,000.
RHS Britain in Bloom judges wrote: “This garden is a special place, well planned and constructed with a wide variety of plants. This is supplemented with good garden furniture providing a restful and tranquil area for patients and visitors alike. The garden was litter free and well maintained with water conservation in evidence plus solar lights to provide a restful ambience at night. We also noted that dogs were allowed in to help in the calming effect for the patients. An excellent project – well done”
Pat McLaren, director of community engagement and fundraising said “RHS Britain in Bloom is the largest horticultural campaign in the UK with over 1600 communities entering the awards each year. To receive an ‘Outstanding’ award in our first year of entering is testament to the vision, hard work and generosity of both time and spirit by our corporate partners and volunteers. The gardens will be enjoyed for many patients and their families for years to come and we remain indebted to all who gave their time and effort to make this vision a reality.”
The RHS judges also recognised, with an “advancing” award, the fledgling outdoor space started by a few patients from the Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre at the Trust’s Halton Hospital, who started to take care of the space and found it a good way to exercise. The garden now extends out from the outpatient centre and has been transformed from an unloved, unused space to a pleasant communal garden where patients can walk, exercise and socialise while on their journey to recovery.
This has been the catalyst for the Halton Outdoor Spaces campaign which is transforming a number of under-used spaces on the hospital site with the help of local businesses including Wonky Garden, local teenagers and community volunteers.
To get involved in helping with volunteer projects at the hospitals contact Claire Jones email whh.volunteers@nhs.net and to support our fundraising projects contact helen.higginson1@nhs.net

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