As part of their strategy to further develop relationships with local communities, St Vincent’s Hospice has developed a community garden in the grounds of the hospice. Building on the success of the long standing community tearoom which has brought local people to the hospice and helped them to engage more in the life of the organisation, the hospice has had a long held ambition to add to this by developing a piece of ground behind the hospice. Plans have been informed by research suggesting that there can be many therapeutic benefits from a garden for those affected by loss, change, death and dying.
Aims The aims of the community garden project were to develop:
An accessible, welcoming tranquil place bringing patients, families, staff, volunteers and the local community together
A space that is also dementia friendly
Space for reflection, relaxation and enjoyment and sensory experiences
Approach The Community Garden Project was led by a hospice volunteer, who has played key role in helping to source funding. The hospice is situated in the country and the garden design uses natural local materials with extensive use of dry stone walls to give the garden a traditional feel and that fits with the local landscape.
The garden has been designed to work on many levels and offers physical activities to help to improve wellbeing, personal space providing peaceful non-demanding privacy for solitude and reminiscence opportunities. It also offers a social space for group activities in addition to multi-sensory stimulation with colour, smell and sounds, with flowing water and wildlife.
Conclusion The completed project has helped St Vincent’s to enhance and extend our care and will continue to provide many opportunities for involvement with the community as it evolves and develops as a community garden.
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