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First NGS Open Gardens a blooming success

Thursday 20 June 2019

St Barnabas House was delighted to welcome over 150 visitors to its gardens on 9 and 16 June as part of the National Open Garden Scheme.

For many local residents, it was their first experience of a hospice and a unique opportunity to explore the grounds and enjoy the wildlife pond, meadow garden and lavender maze.

The event was supported by a large group of hospice volunteers who helped weed, prune and plant in the lead up as well as baking cakes and touring visitors on the day.

Karen Coldham works as a Gardening Assistant at St Barnabas House, helping to manage the gardens alongside Head Gardener, Nick Jones.

Karen says: “Opening up our gardens for the first time has been a fantastic experience. We have found that a lot of visitors weren’t aware that St Barnabas has so much outdoor space, so it’s been an exciting opportunity to show it off and educate people about the care we provide.

“We are fortunate to be supported by so many fantastic volunteers who give their time to help maintain the gardens for patients, their families and visitors. Together, we see first-hand the difference the gardens make to our patients which is really rewarding.”

St Barnabas House patient, Tania House from Southwick, was referred to the hospice in 2017 and can often be found outside enjoying the gardens.

Tania says: “I find it relaxing having a walk down to the pond and collecting my thoughts. Often, I sit outside and I feel like I’ve been transported somewhere magical. It’s so peaceful, I can hear the birds tweeting and watch the dragonflies dart over the water. The plants are colourful and bright which gives me a real sense of wellbeing.”

Amongst those who visited the gardens was Labour’s Henna Chowdhury, the first Asian Bangladeshi woman to be elected as a councillor for Gaisford in Worthing.

Henna says: “I’m always amazed by the generosity of local people who give their time and money to ensure vital services like these exist.

“I hadn’t walked around the gardens before and it was a joy to see how green and peaceful the grounds are. I’m looking forward to sharing my new knowledge of the hospice with others in the local community.”