Heart of Kent Hospice, based in Aylesford near Maidstone, celebrated the opening of its new garden for local people with terminal illnesses this month.
The original garden consisted of a small paved area with an inaccessible slope of stony ground. The new garden transforms the area into a much larger and level space where visitors to the Hospice’s Outpatient Centre can enjoy an improved sense of wellbeing.
Speaking at the opening of the garden, Heart of Kent Hospice Chief Executive, Sarah Pugh said she was thrilled with the results: “The therapeutic effects of gardens and contact with nature are well known in helping to reduce depression, anxiety and loneliness, and enhance feelings of wellbeing.
“This garden is a wonderful gift to our patients, which would not have been possible without the enormous kindness and generosity of Jacksons Fencing, Chartway Group, Spadework, and the financial contributions of Co-Op Local Community Fund and WG Edwards Charitable Foundation.”
Magnolia Place already provides specialist advice and a range of therapeutic activities to help patients manage the physical, emotional and psychological effects of their illnesses. It is hoped that the new, accessible garden will contribute to this, not least in giving patients the opportunity to participate in the pleasure of choosing plants and growing their own flowers, fruit and vegetables.
The finished garden consisted of Hit and Miss fencing around the decking along with a Retreat garden shelter adding a contemporary look to the space. Wooden planters were added around the decked area to allow patients to help with planting.
The new garden was only made possible when the Hospice won a competition run by Jacksons Fencing to support a local community project with a substantial donation of timber products. Andy Tune, Operations Director explained: “We wanted to support a community project that would help a lot of people. There were many excellent initiatives we could have chosen but we felt the Hospice’s entry was a strong initiative and we were only too pleased to support it.”
Work on the garden started in July 2017 and was completed at the end of August 2017. The grand opening took place on Tuesday 5 September 2017 and included representatives from the donor organisations, as well as patients, volunteers and the Hospice’s patron Lady Monckton.