In Funding Stories, Physical & mental health, wellbeing & safety

Project: Arts programme and horticultural therapy sessions

General Fund: £5,000

Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville can be found at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The Garden allows patients to get away from the ward and spend time in a beautiful restorative space. With a grant from Heart of Bucks, Horatio’s Garden have been able to provide an arts programme and horticultural therapy sessions as a refuge for patients, friends, family and staff away from the ward and the hospital environment.

The horticultural therapy sessions are run by head gardener Amy. They involve sowing seeds including herbs, chillies and flowers, and potting them up at a later stage, as well as simply discussing the plants. The arts programme, which has proven to be extremely popular, includes activities such as photography, printing, willow weaving, ceramics and water colour painting. Sessions are also held on evenings and weekends when patients have no treatment and very little to occupy themselves. These sessions often involve live music and are very well attended as everyone can listen to the performances even if they are too ill to actually get into the garden. The arts sessions are run by visiting artists, with the grant covering their fees.

The impact of the garden on both the mental and physical health of patients is significant. It gives them an opportunity to come to terms with the trauma of their injury and how it will affect their lives. The garden also allows visits from family and friends to take place in an enjoyable and natural setting, away from the restrictions of the hospital ward. Feedback from the arts programme is very positive with participants reporting back that the activities help them to forget about the pain they are suffering.

In this video provided by Horatio’s Garden, a patient explains what the garden, the arts programme, and the horticultural therapy sessions mean to them…


To read more about Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville, click here.

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