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Work on safe garden gets underway

23 May 2023

A photo of the new garden area, which already has a number of plants in. The foreground is long green grasses with purple-blue flowers in. There is a roughly three foot high pagoda style sculpture and a wooden train with wooden planters like carriages behind it and an area of rock/ gravel towards the middle, and behind this Chris, wearing a white T-shirt and black gloves, is working to move some of the gravel with a shovel. Behind him and to the right is a small area of hedging and a small palm tree and behind this you can see Melvin facing the pale coloured wall of the hospital painting the black silhouette of a World War One style soldier with back pack and rifle.  

Work on a new ‘Safe Garden’ has got underway in one of our hospital courtyards, with landscaping and design work in progress.

The Safe Garden project aims to create a safe open space for veteran patients and those living with dementia, autism and learning disabilities, and their families, and work has now started on the project, with our Armed Forces Advocate Chris Blyth, Dementia Care Lead Ali Thayne and other members of our safeguarding team rolling up their sleeves to clear the area and start developing it.

The garden has been funded partly by Chris’s fundraising marathon run, which raised over £1,200, and by generous support from businesses including Morgan Sindall, who have supplied workers to help the project and funded items for the garden, and ATD (Attention to Detail) Gardening and Landscaping Services.  Melvin Hilsden from ATD is working on the wall design featuring a soldier.

Two Morgan Sindall workers, both wearing fluorescent waistcoats, white hard hats and red gloves, help with work on the garden. One kneels on the ground with a saw in his hand, sawing through a thick 'sleeper' style plank of wood on a diagonal to fit another that has already been cut. Both pieces of wood form a right angle around the bottom of a hedge.

Chris said the aim was to create a safe space for patients and their families so those that are able to can go outside and enjoy some fresh air during their hospital stay.

“The garden will feature a number of themed areas including one dedicated to our Armed Forces community and an interactive area for our patients with dementia, learning disabilities and autism. We’d like to thank everyone involved in the project and we look forward to officially unveiling the garden next month, once work has been completed.”

The work will include things like a bus stop, which Ali is pictured unwrapping, and a post box, and garden beds featuring different fragrant and tactile plants.  

Ali Thayne, wearing a light blue/grey hooded top, dark legging and dark shoes, unwraps a long white tube that will form part of the bus stop. The is on a red mess trolley with black wheels and a black handle and the top of the bus stop sign - in blue and white is visible under the tube. The background is the garden, with green grasses and blue flowers.

Ali is pictured, smiling at the camera, holding the bus stop sign, which has a blue background and two white boxes on. The top box has a black bus image sideways on, the bottom box says 'Bus stop' in blue writing. Behind her Chris is visible working in the garden.