Horatio’s Garden is a charity that creates and lovingly cares for beautiful accessible gardens in NHS spinal injury centres.
With the support of Cardiff & Vale Health Charity, Cardiff and Vale Health Board is planning a Horatio’s Garden at University Hospital Llandough with leading garden designer Sarah Price.
Sarah will develop the stunning sanctuaries for patients and their family and friends, creating an environment which becomes an integral part of their lives and care whilst spending many months in hospital.
Spinal cord injuries are catastrophic, life-changing events. Patients often have little or no access to the outside world during their hospital stay, yet research shows that at times of stress, being outside with nature contributes to a feeling of wellbeing.
The charity’s volunteer team, led by a head gardener, keep the garden looking beautiful, help run activities for patients and contribute to the happy, uplifting atmosphere which permeates Horatio’s Gardens. Some volunteers have spinal injuries and young people can join as a ‘Volunteers’.
Horatio’s Gardens provide patients with somewhere to find much-needed solace in an oasis of planting even in their hospital beds. Patients can take part in gentle rehabilitation activities in the gardens organised by the charity, including garden therapy, art therapy and music concerts.
An essential part of the atmosphere in the gardens is created by the sharing of cups of tea and home made cakes with patients, family or friends, volunteers and staff. Horatio’s Gardens are places where kindness is central.
“The first time I went in to the garden I was overwhelmed with tears and a sense of relief and excitement that there was somewhere to go other than the ward.”
The first Horatio’s Garden opened in 2012 at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment at Salisbury Hospital. Designed by award-winner, Cleve West, Horatio’s Garden has transformed the patients’ hospital stays.
Patients can take part in activities in the garden organised by the charity, including garden therapy, art therapy, food events and music concerts. Regular sculpture exhibitions create a focus of interest and change. Just having a quiet moment, or a cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake in the garden, with family or friends, can be such a tonic.
The second Horatio’s Garden, designed by James Alexander-Sinclair, opened in 2016 at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow which cares for patients from across Scotland.
The aim is to bring Horatio’s Gardens to all the UK’s 11 regional specialist spinal centres.
For more information visit: http://www.horatiosgarden.org.uk/