Reflective Space for patients, service users and staff at St Mary’s Hospital | Latest updates

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Film crew with Angela Hillery

Reflective Space for patients, service users and staff at St Mary’s Hospital

Opening of the shifting sands garden at St Mary's Hospital

Monday (20 September) saw the opening of the “Shifting Sands” Garden which is a new reflective space at the Spiritual Wellbeing department St Mary’s Hospital, Kettering which is managed by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT).

Made possible from funding from Northamptonshire Health Charity (NHC), the new “Shifting Sands” Garden will provide a place for patients and staff to find a moment of peace in their day.

The project has led by Odette Douglas, Chaplain at NHFT’s Spiritual Wellbeing Department. The idea began during the pandemic after discussion with staff, patients and service users. Shifting Sands describes the feeling of always changing circumstances and the need a for solid ground at times of challenge. This reflective space provides this solid ground at St Mary’s Hospital.

Odette said: “The garden aims to bring a feeling of peace and quiet with space for reflection. We all need a bit of stillness in our day and there is nothing more restorative that sitting in nature, even if only for a few moments. We were fortunate to have two fantastic garden designers, Alex and Will Pettitt, who understood the concept of Shifting Sands, as well as mental health and wellbeing. Together they produced a truly amazing garden for us.”

Colleagues from NHFT were joined by patients and representatives from NHC for the commemorate opening of the garden, which was officially opened by Liz Robinson, Head of Occupational Health and Wellbeing at NHFT. Liz supported the project and was delighted to be asked to open the garden before she retires from NHFT at the end of September.

Lorraine Devereux, Community Fundraiser for NHC, said: “The charity is really proud to be able to fund this beautiful space, as we know how important it is for both patients and staff, to have access to such areas. The charity is able to fund these small but really important projects, that make a huge difference with the support of donations and fundraising from the local community.”

The garden provides an area for patients to explore nature and to plant seeds and experience the process of being creative in nature, there will be a small herb garden area too which will provide some sensory benefits.

Odette continued: “The heart of spiritual wellbeing is about what gives our lives meaning, hope and peace. Nature can help with restoration and we hope to work with service users to explore spiritual wellbeing in nature. We are so grateful to the charity and the donated funds to have been be able to build this beautiful garden for the benefit for all at St Marys Hospital. This project is only made possible to everyone who was involved and their hardwork."

This peaceful oasis will make a significant difference to service users and colleague wellbeing and has been made possible thanks to funding from Northamptonshire Health Charity. This is the registered charity for Northampton General Hospital (NGH), Kettering General Hospital (KGH) and the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT). The charity’s mission is to make things better for patients, their families and staff and provide funding for equipment, research and training. To find out more visit: northamptonshirehealthcharity.co.uk 

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