The Mayor of Runnymede Councillor Chaudri and other dignitaries were present on 9 May 2018 to celebrate the official opening of the new Therapeutic Garden at St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey.
The garden was donated by Twickenham based landscape contractors Kingston Landscape Group with the design by Teddington landscape architects Outerspace.
The aim of the garden is to provide therapeutic activities and a calming safe space for inpatients at the Abraham Cowley Mental Health Unit, which is run by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
MD Steve Evans drives past the unit every day on his way to work and felt that the neglected space was not benefiting patients, so he approached Surrey and Borders Partnership to see what could be done.
“We create beautiful gardens and communal spaces every day for our clients. I felt it was time we gave something back to our local community and especially for people who are going through a difficult period in their lives. It can happen to any of us.”
An area outside the Abraham Cowley Unit was earmarked to be transformed into a soothing sensory garden together with therapeutic activities. Gardening has long been recognised as being beneficially to mental health and wellbeing and so incorporating areas where patients can become involved in gardening was key.
Design of the scheme was carried out by Richard Broome of Teddington based landscape architects Outerspace.
“Working on the scheme provided us with a great feeling of achievement, helping Michelle and her team transform their pretty miserable outdoor space into an attractive, usable and tranquil garden for their patients and staff to enjoy and escape from the often intensive environment within their Unit.”
The garden was installed earlier this year during a traditionally quiet period in the landscape calendar. All manpower, plants and equipment were donated free of charge by Kingston Landscape Group.