Garden makeover is blooming marvellous

Volunteers from the West Brom dig deep to help dementia patients at Rowley Regis Hospital.

Volunteers from the West Brom dig deep to help dementia patients at Rowley Regis Hospital.

Green-fingered volunteers from the West Brom have helped to transform a hospital garden for dementia patients in the heart of the Black Country.

Seven colleagues from the Society joined forces with the Your Trust Charity, which is run by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, and revamped the outdoor area at Rowley Regis Hospital.

After clearing up the garden, the team then set about creating a dementia-friendly space, with carefully chosen colours of orange and blue which are said to help stimulate dementia patients. They also added sensory plants including lavender and violas.

Jan Sanders, Retail Manager for West Brom branches in the Dudley area, was among the volunteers.

“It was very important to me to take part in the project because my father died earlier this year after a battle with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia,” she said.

“I believe having a sensory garden for the patients makes a huge difference to them and gives them a perfect place not just to relax but to rest and recuperate.”

The partnership came about after the West Brom contacted Your Trust Charity to offer volunteer support. Sarah Whitcombe, Manager for the Eliza Tinsely ward at Rowley Regis Hospital, flagged up their garden as being in need of a spruce up.

Amanda Winwood, Membership Academy and Fundraising Manager for Your Trust Charity, said: “When we saw the garden we knew we could make a difference to it. It needed clearing and brightening up so our patients could make much more use of it.

“The plan was to use dementia-friendly colours on the fence and furniture along with introducing a sensory area and raised beds to make it easier for patients to look after the plants as part of their occupational therapy.

“The transformation is amazing and throughout the day patients were coming out to see what we were up to and commented on how different it looks. We want to thank employees from the building society for all their help and dedication.”

Jim King, Communications Manager at the West Brom, added: “I know our volunteers took a great deal of pride and pleasure from helping to restore the hospital’s garden and we are grateful to the Trust for giving us the opportunity to support such a worthwhile project there.”

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