Horatio’s Garden is one of the National Garden Scheme’s gardens and health charities – receiving funding for work which promotes the physical and mental health benefits of gardens and gardening. The National Garden Scheme has been supporting Horatio’s Garden since 2015 and have donated £330,000 to-date to help the charity create and care for beautiful accessible gardens in NHS regional spinal injury centres. In spring 2019, the National Garden Scheme committed funding for the completion of all eleven gardens across the country and in 2020 donated a further £75,000.
The first Horatio’s garden opened in Salisbury, Wiltshire in 2012 and was designed by Cleve West. The garden developed into an incredible sanctuary for all those touched by spinal injury – and the charity was then formed with the aim of bringing these oases to all 11 spinal injury centres across the UK. A space at the Scottish National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow designed by James Alexander-Sinclair was the next Horatio’s Garden to open.
With support from the National Garden Scheme, two more gardens have opened to patients in Buckinghamshire and Shropshire. Building work has been completed on a beautiful garden for patients at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which has been designed by Joe Swift and opened in September 2018. The National Garden Scheme has also helped fund a further development at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injury in Oswestry, which opened in Autumn 2019 and has committed funding to ensure the completion of all eleven gardens at NHS spinal injury centres across the country.
The charity is named after Horatio Chapple. Horatio volunteered at the spinal centre in Salisbury and had the vision of a garden for all those connected to the centre. Horatio’s life was cut short in 2011 at the age of 17. For Horatios’s family, friends and those touched by his life, these evolving gardens, which offer sanctuary, improve wellbeing and become so significant to those affected by spinal cord injury, are his legacy. Dedicated gardeners, staff and volunteers ensure the gardens look incredible all year round as well as organising activities and events, including garden and art therapy, music concerts and plenty of tea and homemade cake.