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Sensory garden at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford taking shape

A hospital sensory garden is taking shape after thousands of pounds have been raised by the community.

Staff at William Harvey Hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ITU) in Ashford have been campaigning for the space's upgrade since September 2018.

All weeds have now been cleared away and replaced with seating and fragrant flowers
All weeds have now been cleared away and replaced with seating and fragrant flowers

Originally a disused courtyard, the first phase has now been completed - planting beds have been installed, fragrant herbs and flowers planted, and a door widened - with a ramp installed allowing patients who are bed-bound to access the garden.

Natalie Daly, ward manager, said: “Phase one of the sensory garden was recently completed, and we are very excited about being able to develop the next phase.

“Our patients, and their families often need to be able to access a quiet space, away from the bustle of the ward, and we know that being able to sit within a natural environment can have a positive impact on wellbeing.”

The courtyard was originally overgrown and unused
The courtyard was originally overgrown and unused
The first phase of work has now been completed, with this aerial view showing the scale of the progress
The first phase of work has now been completed, with this aerial view showing the scale of the progress

The first phase comes as a result of donations, grants and support from Tesco Bags of Help, Brakes Charitable Trust and Aviva Community Fund, as well as fundraising by ITU staff and donations from the local community.

On a JustGiving page for the garden - which is still active - £8,837 has been raised through individual and group donors.

The Ashford Designer Outlet is also aiding the process, garnering donations via the Garden of Light installation at the station-side entrance to the shopping centre.

Since opening in November, the interactive illuminations have brought in more than £28,600 for the project and collections are continuing until its close in April.

A large amount of vegetation had to be removed before construction could begin
A large amount of vegetation had to be removed before construction could begin
Tiles were removed before the flowerbeds and benches could be put in
Tiles were removed before the flowerbeds and benches could be put in

Dee Neligan, fundraising and development officer for East Kent Hospitals Charity said: “We have been overwhelmed by the incredible response from visitors to the Garden of Light at the McArthurGlen Ashford Designer Outlet.

“These donations will enable East Kent Hospitals Charity to fund innovative additions to the ITU Sensory Garden, empowering our patients to make full use of the space. We’d like to thank our local communities for their support with this project.”

Throughout January, activities will be taking place at the Garden of Light such as ‘Sunday Morning Stretch and Strengthen’ Yoga and Pilates, as well as baby sensory groups.

To find out what's on at the Garden of Light, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here.

The KM Group is committed to helping the community through the KM Charity team. For more information and to find out what other good causes you can get involved in click here.


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