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Our new gardening group in full bloom

Our Day Hospice patients have been enjoying a brand new gardening group, an initiative from our Therapies Team. This week (13th – 19th Aug) celebrates National Allotment Week and so we asked our team to share the inspiration our patients have taken from this celebration by The National Allotment Society, and tell us what they get up to at gardening group!

The gardening group, which our team have worked hard to get up and running, has a real benefit to patients as Tiz, a St Catherine’s Therapy Technician, explains: “Many of our patients are keen gardeners but they’re unable to get outside anymore. It’s really important that they’re still able to do what they love, so we decided to bring the outside in. There’s been an amazing response to the group so far and it’s been wonderful to see so many patients getting involved. It’s a chance for them to forget about their ailments for a while.”

The Argus Appeal kindly funded the set up of the group which included purchasing special trays and tools. Tony Portelli, Chairman of The Argus Appeal and Managing Director of The Argus said: “As a daily newspaper with a long standing charity, we’re committed to helping the hospice movement throughout our county. We’re pleased to continue to support St Catherine’s with this exciting project.”

The group takes place every Wednesday morning in St Catherine’s Day Hospice conservatory. The team set up bright coloured gardening trays, soil, plants and gardening tools, and patients have already been working on many different projects. So far, they’ve created vibrant hanging baskets for our hospice garden and entrance, and planted troughs in support of our Memory Meadow remembrance event, which are now also displayed in our hospice garden. And they’ve not stopped there! Patients have also planted herbs for the kitchen and pots for people leaving St Catherine’s wards or celebrating birthdays.

Terry, who attends the group, said: “I’m not usually a gardener but I enjoy spending time outside with my wife and helping with tasks like digging. The gardening group is fantastic and I’ve enjoyed it very much. My wife won’t believe that I’ve planted a hanging basket so next week I‘m going to make a pot plant to take home for her.”

As well as an opportunity for patients to enjoy an activity that’s been adapted for their illness, the group is also a chance for them to talk in an informal setting. Patients tend to open up to the team more whilst gardening, which is important in allowing the team to support them wherever needed.

Rosemary, a keen gardener, also attends. She said: “It’s unbelievable what St Catherine’s do here. I can’t carry heavy loads or walk far anymore so the gardening group has been a great way to continue doing something I enjoy.”

The Therapy Team also take the gardening equipment onto the wards for patients who are unable to leave their beds, and have plans to run the group at their other Day Hospice in Reigate too.

If you would like to make a donation of equipment or plants to support St Catherine’s gardening group please call the hospice on 01293 447333 and ask to speak to the Therapies Team.

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