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Serenity Garden at George Eliot Hospital

About the Serenity Garden

Serenity garden charity logo
Serenity Garden graphic

About the Serenity Garden

The effects of stroke and dementia are profound. The impact can be physical; psychological; financial and/or social. These effects often extend beyond the individual to include family, friends and the wider community. Due to these issues patients affected by stroke and dementia may require inpatient hospital care. This can be a frightening, disorientating and upsetting experience for all. 

In an attempt to support individuals affected by stroke and dementia during their hospital stay, staff are raising funds to support the creation of the ‘Serenity Garden’. The aim of the Serenity garden is to help prepare the patient for discharge by increasing the patient’s confidence in becoming as independent as possible, recover mobility, progress their general health and mental well-being which will improve their quality of life outside the hospital.

Currently the plans include: 

A designated stroke rehabilitation area, which will enable patients to practice day to day activities such as walking across a bridge or using a ramp, general outdoor activities such as pegging washing on a line, doing some light gardening, navigating uneven flooring, poles and raised kerbs in preparation for the patient being discharged from hospital. 

An all-weather lodge which will be accessible all year round for use by patients in small groups who are bed bound, in wheelchairs or walking independently. The lodge will be used for pet, art and music therapies as well as small group work or individual activities which will be arranged throughout the year through a dedicated activities schedule. 

Specialist flooring will be installed to reduce the risk of injury from falls, is hard wearing making it adequate for long term usage, permeable and anti-slip certified. 

A specially designed pathway will be created to aid orientation of individuals affected by Dementia and help patients navigate to entrance and exit points. 

New seating and lighting will enable patients to eat outdoors, socialise with friends and family or simply relax in a safe environment. 

Wheelchair and hospital bed accessible flower beds will give patients the opportunity to do some light gardening, should they wish to, or simply enjoy the sensory elements of the planted flora and fauna.

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Design and Construction

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The garden has been designed in partnership with students from the Occupational Therapy Programme at Coventry University, the design was created by Susan Simpson, Susan Condor, Katy Doncaster and Christine Falconer.

It is expected that the garden will benefit approximately 3,230 patients per annum plus their friends and family. The catchment areas are: Nuneaton & Bedworth, North Warwickshire, South West Leicestershire, Hinckley & Bosworth and North Coventry. 


The Trust works in partnership with University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire, Leicester Royal Infirmary, University Hospitals Birmingham and South Warwickshire Foundation Trust. 


Nuneaton has also been identified as an area for housing development and a further 20,000 dwellings are in the process of being created. From July 2021, patients from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, who require stroke rehabilitation, will be transferred to our hospital, therefore the Serenity Garden is expected to get greater use in the future.

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Construction on the Serenity Garden commenced in December 2020 and is expected to be completed by April 2021.

We are working in partnership with media students from North Warwickshire & Hinckley College to record the build. Filming in the garden will be taking place daily during this time. Please avoid the area if you do not wish to be on film.

Social Media Handle: @GardenGEH

Should you require any further information on the project, please contact: Shabina Khalifa (Project Support Officer) on 02476 865150, Vicky Kean (Advanced Nurse Practitioner for Stroke) on 07867 441226 or email: serenity.garden@geh.nhs.uk

Mayor's Charity 2019/20

Mayor’s Charity of the Year

We are pleased to announce that the Serenity Garden has been chosen as the Nuneaton & Bedworth Mayor’s Charity of the Year for 2019-21. 

We will be working closely with Madame Mayor June Tandy to raise as many funds as possible. 

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Fundraising

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Fundraising

Fundraising for the project commenced in September 2018 with the garden being funded entirely through charitable donations (registered charity number 1057607).

You can donate towards the Serenity Garden via our Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-eliot-hospital-nhs-trust

Thank you to everyone who has undertaken fundraising activities of their own to raise funds towards the garden. 

We are also deeply grateful to the following grant makers, organisations and charitable trusts who have contributed towards our fundraising:

 

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Our fundraising Journey

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Serenity Garden Collage

We are thankful to our staff and members of the community who continue to support the project through their own and collective fundraising efforts.

To ensure we keep everyone safe during these unprecedented times, we will be moving to virtual fundraising for the rest of the year. We will be releasing further details soon so watch this space for how you can join in!  

Your stories

Spencer and Serenity Garden

Spencer's Story

Spencer’s Story

 

“In August 2018 I suffered 2 strokes. 

My wife and I have 5 children and had just got married in the May so to suddenly have 2 strokes was a huge shock.

After the first stroke I didn’t have any mobility issues and was able to walk around, the ward can be noisy and hard to collect your thoughts so I used to escape to a bench just outside the doors, which faced a car park and the busy hospital environment, but being outside gave me that little bit of breathing space.

After the second stroke I unfortunately did end up with reduced mobility and was confined to the ward for many weeks. Although the staff are amazing I started to feel like a prisoner not having anywhere to escape to other than the visits to physio.

The first time I was allowed to leave the ward in a chair I just wanted to sit outside and try to get my head around what was happening but again I was greeted with noisy cars and people coming and going.

It was hard to see my children and I would often go days without seeing them due to being on the ward. After hearing about the garden I wished this had been available when I was on the ward, this would have been a wonderful place to sit and gather my thoughts in peace and quiet and to be able to spend some private time with my family. I believe it would have been more of an incentive to work harder in physiotherapy with it being outdoors and facing real situations such as uneven ground.

The pet and gardening sensory areas sound incredible and I could imagine would be fantastic for rehabilitation. I know that had this all been available for me I would have used it all to its full potential instead of feeling like rehab was clinical. I think it will be fantastic and that stroke patients will find it helps them in their road to recovery.”

Mrs V's Story

“My husband loved the outdoors, his favourite hobbies were walking (covering distances of up to 7 miles in one day) and gardening (we spent a lot of quality time in the garden and took pride in keeping our garden looking pristine in all weathers). Even after he was diagnosed, his love for the garden did not diminish. However, his diagnosis had a negative effect on his confidence as he would worry that he would forget his address and end up getting lost.

My husband was admitted to George Eliot Hospital in July 2018 and remained in hospital for 6 weeks. During this time, his cognition deteriorated due to infections and this affected his mobility. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take him home as he needs ongoing care and he was placed in a nursing home.

I feel that if the garden had been available during my husband’s inpatient stay, his deterioration would have been delayed. I would have been happy to walk around the garden with him so that it was not time consuming for the nursing staff. Having access to soil and garden tools may have helped my husband to trigger memories.”