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Get to know: Highland Hospice – Sunday Mirror

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Sunday Mirror Blog Post feature image Highland Hospital

Ruperta
from Highland Hospice

Siobhan, Graeme and Dale
our 3 ambassadors from Simpsons Garden Centre

Our relaxing hospice garden

By Ruperta
from Highland Hospice

Here at Highland Hospice we seek to provide our patients and their loved ones with respect, dignity and choice both during the patient's illness and into bereavement.

With the help of our local community we have been lucky enough to create a relaxing and tranquil outdoor space where patients can socialise in and interact with staff. It is designed to be accessible for all and to provide areas where people can sit alone, in pairs or in groups as they desire.

HospiceGarden2HR lo
HospiceGarden7HR lo

There is a large patio area for social gatherings and a grassed area with an all-access path around it to encourage patients to enjoy all parts of the space.  The planting is towards the rear against our boundary wall and in raised beds next to the building. It also offers a large outdoor social space where we have hosted barbecues and intend to hold our next memorial service.

The project started with a significant consultation with our patient group at the time and with the staff, especially the occupational therapists in the Hospice.  They worked with people with a greater understanding of gardens and horticulture including the staff of locally owned garden centre, Simpsons.

The initial phase completed last year focussed on creating an attractive and inviting space which would encourage patients to go outdoors and enjoy the general benefits of being outside and seeing a colourful and varied garden.

HospiceGardenHR lo

The old garden was cleared by volunteers from Scottish Water.  The hard landscaping was put in by a local landscaping firm and the planting was completed by volunteers guided by Simpsons staff.  Ongoing maintenance is undertaken by volunteers. We had corporate volunteers from Scottish Water and HSBC during the construction.  Our regular garden volunteers come from across Inverness.

The garden is open for anyone at the Hospice to enjoy. It is mostly used by our Day Therapy patients who all have advancing, life-limiting illnesses or other long-term health conditions. The garden has also been used by staff for staff social events and will host our Time to Remember memorial service in April.

Many of the benefits are intangible but the key feedback is simply that our patients enjoy the opportunity to be outside.  Many have trouble accessing their own garden, or don’t have gardens and aren’t able to go for a walk or visit the park.  Our wee space becomes a welcome haven for them.

Everyone involved in designing and building the garden gained a feeling of satisfaction, not just at the end result, especially during the summer when it is at its best, but also in seeing our patients enjoy the space and ask to go outside as soon as the sun pokes it’s head out.

The next phase will be to offer patients an opportunity to grow plants and to get their hands dirty growing herb and vegetables which our kitchen will use in their lunches.  We are also establishing a Therapeutic Arts programme at the Hospice and would like to see more of our activities and groups undertaken outside – Highland weather permitting of course!

 

Local ambassador involvement

Siobhan, Graeme and Dale
our 3 ambassadors from Simpsons Garden Centre

How did the relationship with the community garden come about?

We were contacted by the Hospice initially about setting up a Hospice gifting list for supporters of the hospice to contribute to the garden.

We then spoke with Ruperta about what plants she would like in the garden as well as advise about what plants would do well within the environment and space allocated.

Dale

How did the relationship with the community garden come about?

We were contacted by the Hospice initially about setting up a Hospice gifting list for supporters of the hospice to contribute to the garden, we then spoke with Ruperta about what plants she would like in the garden as well as advise about what plants would do well within the environment and space allocated.

 

What involvement did garden centre staff have?

Our horti manager Dale had a number of meetings with the hospice team about what was happening as the design process went along, adapting and changing plants as necessary. Dale and Graeme from our horti team both spent time at the hospice to look at the layout and put forward ideas about what would work well along with suggestions about what plants to place in specific locations.

 

How did you feel helping with this garden?

It was a great experience, knowing the difference a garden like this will make to the residents, their families and friends. It was a pleasure to be involved.

 

Do you have future plans for supporting this garden?

It would be lovely for the team to re-visit the garden and help maintain plants and trees as well as make suggestions for new items that will complement the established ones.

 

What advice would you give to other ambassadors thinking of helping their communities?

Please do get involved in a local project. The advice and inspiration a garden centre can give is invaluable to the project but seeing the end results is the most inspiring and humbling feeling.

 

Published in the Sunday Mirror

The national Cultivation Street campaign provides a perfect opportunity for schools, communities and garden centre staff to all come together. Often these relationships create something amazing and, at times, even life changing! Three of our ambassadors at Simpsons garden centre in Inverness, Siobhan, Dale and Graham, are shining examples of what can be achieved from such a relationship. They joined forces with Highland Hospice to develop a relaxing and tranquil outdoor space for patients living with life limiting illness. The finished design is a place in which they can tap into the soothing and remedial effects of nature—complete with an all-access path to encourage patients to freely explore all that’s on offer. It’s a safe haven inviting their loved ones to join them in quality time away from the stressors of everyday life.

Andrew Leaver, Head of fundraising for Highland hospice, explains their future hopes for the garden, “We are keen to add raised beds where patients will get the opportunity to grow fresh herbs and vegetables, which they can then enjoy. We are establishing a therapeutic arts programme and would like to see more of our group activities undertaken outside – Highland weather permitting of course!”.

Siobhan, Cultivation Street ambassador, explains the value of garden centres helping their local communities, “The advice and inspiration a garden centre can offer is invaluable to the project and seeing the end results is the most inspiring and humbling feeling. Creating this garden was a great experience, knowing the difference it will make to the residents, their families and friends. It was a pleasure to be involved.”

Highland Hospice are one of the many gardens across the UK entering the brand-new ‘Gardens for better health’ category in the Cultivation Street 2019 competition, sponsored by Calliope. To register your interest, visit cutivationstreet.com

 

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