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Serenity Garden at George Eliot Hospital

About the Serenity Garden

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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. 

To support individuals affected by stroke and dementia during their hospital stay, staff started fundraising in June 2018 to create 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, and improve their general health and mental well-being. The Serenity Garden is split into two areas:

  1. The stroke rehabilitation area offers patients the opportunity to experience real-world obstacles in a safe and controlled environment. Therapists and nursing staff will supervise patients as they navigate their way over steps or a ramp, traverse around navigation poles which aim to mirror navigation around crowded areas, cross over a raised bridge, and walk through uneven gravel surfacing before making their way down the new decking area which has a wonderful view of the newly planted sensory garden and wild flower meadow.
  2. The Dementia therapy area incorporates new wheelchair accessible raised flower beds which are arranged with a variety of specially selected plants to stimulate the senses of sight, touch, sound, taste and smell. There is a dementia friendly pathway designed as an infinity loop to provide a sense of direction as patients wander through the area. A dining area and seating around the garden will enable patients to sit outdoors and relax with their friends and family.
  3. An all-weather lodge is on order and is expected to be in place in Autumn. The lodge will be installed in the Dementia Therapy area and will enable patients to receive art, music, pet and one-to-one therapies away from the ward area. It will be accessible all year round. The lodge will be able to accommodate hospital beds, wheelchairs and able-bodied patients making it a unique space for all to use. It will be equipped with a selection of specialist equipment to aid muscle building, concentration and fine motor skills. 


Following a successful tender, Fairways Contracting Ltd were appointed to construct the Serenity Garden. Construction took place between December 2020 and June 2021. The garden is now open for use by the patients.  

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. With the building of new housing developments in the area and working in partnership with UHCW for Stroke Rehabilitation services, the garden is going to get much greater use going forward. With social distancing expected to be in place for the foreseeable future an outdoor area where service users can safely meet with their family and friends is needed now more than ever. 

Patients from the following areas will benefit from the garden: 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. 

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Social Media Handle: @GardenGEH

Should you require any further information on the project, please contact: Shabina Khalifa (Project Support Officer) on 02476 865150 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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At the end of August 2021 we have raised

Fundraising

Fundraising for the project commenced in June 2018 with the garden being funded entirely through charitable donations. Whilst we have reached our fundraising goal to construct the garden, we still require donations to put towards the purchase of equipment, consumables and maintenance.  

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.

Registered charity number 1057607.

 

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Our fundraising Journey

Our Fundraising Journey 

We are thankful to our staff and members of the community who continue to support the project through their own and collective fundraising efforts. A wide variety of fundraising activities have taken place (pre-covid) such as cake sales, yoga classes,3 peaks challenge, numerous marathons, fundraising stalls across Nuneaton & Bedworth, Abba Tribute Night, 70’s Night, Bollywood Fusion Night, Christmas Choir, Race Night, Halloween Disco, Tombolas, Food Festivals, Quiz Nights and Fashion Shows. 

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A special mention to the Hewitt Family who kick-started our fundraising campaign during our community engagement event in June 2019 with a very generous donation of £4,543, since then the family have undertaken numerous fundraising challenges to raise even more funds for the project. 

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.”