Acorns Children’s Hospice garden, Worcester; sensory serenity
The National Garden Scheme has long championed the concept of Gardens and Health, the sensory delights of a beautiful outdoor space, planted to stimulate and in one with nature, can help with improve a sense of wellbeing, speed recovery or bring restful respite. Much of the charity’s funding helps support gardens in healthcare settings and many of the gardens in turn have open days for the National Garden Scheme; engaging communities with hospices is a wonderful way to build awareness and break down barriers. The garden at Acorns Children’s Hospice is designed with children and their families in mind; this hidden children’s hospice garden, an oasis in the heart of Worcester, is a multi-sensory delight – a beautiful blend of native and more formal planting. Explore it here:
In more detail
These stunning gardens are an important therapeutic aspect of Acorns Children’s Hospice care. They provide a quiet sanctuary where families can reflect, a place where children and siblings can enjoy playing together and provide sensory stimulation through a variety of different sights, smells and sounds.
For the local children who visit the hospice for short breaks, the gardens are a delight. All the hospice bedrooms look-out upon and can access the gardens directly. With wheelchair suitable pathways, children and families can spend quality time together outside, making treasured memories in a way that may not be possible in their own homes.
Lovingly tended-to by the hospice gardener, Barry, and a team of volunteers, native plants and shrubs have been introduced to encourage a variety of butterflies, birds and wildlife.
A section of the garden includes a large greenhouse and raised planters. Children and siblings spend many enjoyable hours with the hospice staff and volunteers, potting, planting and growing fruit and vegetables – some of which are prepared in the hospice at mealtimes. Many of the children cared for by the hospice have very specific physical and sensory needs. The gardens are a riot of sights, sounds and smells, and make the most of flowers, shrubs and trees that are especially bright and colourful, or known for their pleasant aromas.
There may be children who have limited eyesight, or can only see shadows or bright colours. Moving through the gardens and through the trees they will recognise changes in light and shadow. Other children may like to watch and listen to the numerous birds that visit the gardens, smell the damp soil after rain, or touch the different textures of trees and plants.
A garden can be transformative; calming a child who is feeling distressed or anxious, or sparking delight in a child when they see trees move or a butterfly land. Families who are dealing with specific challenges or emotions can find serenity.
The gardening club, lead by Glen Haines, is a place of discovery and delight for the children at the hospice. They learn about plants, eat the produce – strawberries, potatoes, carrots and more – and have sunflower growing competitions too. Find out more with Glen here:
To find out more about the garden click here
To find out more about the care Acorns provides for local children visit www.acorns.org.uk
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