A Hospice garden to touch the senses

by Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice in Abbey Wood, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 16th May 2018 we successfully raised £2,987 with 31 supporters in 28 days

Bringing the beauty, stimulation and relaxation of the outdoors to people with terminal illnesses on our ward. And their families too.

by Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice in Abbey Wood, England, United Kingdom

Everyone knows the calm and peace and happiness that you can get from a garden; just from being outdoors - smelling and touching plants, feeling the sun or wind on your face. This is why we want to plant a sensory garden right outside our ward here at Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice.

People on our 19-bed ward are terminally ill, some may be in the last days of their lives, others may visit us for respite care. They may be confined to their bed or a wheelchair, or they could be able to walk. All have carers, families, friends, children and grandchildren who visit whenever they can. The oldest person we cared for last year was 97, the youngest 17.

Some of these people may not have had a chance to visit a park, or even their own garden, for some time. 

Our Hospice Matron Ellen says: “We have a beautiful woodland Hospice but those in the ward can't access our gardens easily as we are on a hilly site. In the summer we open the outside doors to the ward  and I can really tell the difference it makes to everyone's mood when the light and air comes into the room. But I would like to do more. To be able to get people outside with their families and feel the sun on their face and give them space to chat together."

Our dream for our community was to make this happen and we have very nearly achieved it.

We’ve already worked hard to raise the costs for the extensive groundworks that will make a new courtyard garden accessible to all.  Many, many thanks to Norman Adams, the former Mayor of Greenwich and his charity fund, to the Albert Hunt Trust and the Peter Harris Trust.

The diggers roll in to start the project this week and we would LOVE your help to raise the final £5,900 we need for the plants and trees to make the garden truly sensory. Lavender for smell, grasses big and small for sound and touch, wild strawberries for taste,  a cherry tree, a willow, a fountain bringing the sound of water, and special mobile planters with seating, so that people can get close to the plants, and each other.

Please help us bring the pleasures of a garden to local people with terminal illnesses and their families and friends.

How you can help

Around 300 people spend time on our ward every year and, with all their visitors, this makes at least 1,000 people a year who could benefit from your generosity.

Your pledges will grow for generations:

  • £22 will buy: a group of perennial flowers, a collection of grasses or a collection of herbs
  • £48  will buy: a regular shrub (such as daphne or forsythia), a small tree (such as willow, ash, cherry, or eucalyptus), or a selection of roses
  • £100 will buy: a standard tree, a bamboo screen, or a lavender border
  • £250  will buy: a flower bed with seat,  a young specimen tree, or a mature specimen shrub
  • £500  will buy:  a large flower bed, a mature specimen tree,  or a pergola
  • £1,000  will buy: a fountain, sawn limestone paving, or a mobile planter

We’ve created some special rewards to help us do this together as a community: you could plant seeds in your garden along with us,  visit the Hospice fora planting day, or even attend our launch party.  You'll find the rewards listed to the right.

The garden, step by step

To make the garden more accessible for our patients, first we have to flatten and clear the area outside the ward to make it wheelchair-friendly, and even bed-friendly (as we want to be able to wheel people out in their beds if they wish).  Above is a picture of what we have now: an uneven and crowded space. 

Next we want to create the sensory garden using an innovative design specially created for us (see below) - thanks a million Coolings Garden Centre and designer  Alex Lindsay -  which will use mobile planters filled with sensory plants. This means we can re-shape the area to suit what we need on any day, using planters to screen families who want privacy, and moving planters directly next to wheelchairs or beds. You can see that there is a fountain in the centre and that the planters surround it in a circular shape. Your pledges will help fill the garden with plants and trees, benches and planters, and make it a special place.


More about us

Find out more about our vital work with and for the 500,000-strong community of Greenwich and Bexley Boroughs by watching our video below

And then meet Des, our volunteer gardener, who will be helping plant the garden. Don't forget we have many volunteering opportunities here at the hospice, so please get in touch if you would like to find out more.  



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£22 or more

Sensory seeds for your garden

Make your own garden sensory too with a packet of sensory seeds and a personalised thank you.

£48 or more

Sensory seeds and pin badge

A bright Hospice pin badge and a packet of sensory seeds. Grow your own sensory garden and wear your badge with pride.

£100 or more

A sensory plant for your garden

A beautiful plant for your own garden plus a Hospice pin badge and a packet of sensory seeds

£250 or more

Plant with us

Come to one of our special planting days, (provisionally set for Friday 8th and Saturday 9th of June), here at the Hospice's woodland gardens, where you can get your hands dirty and help make a difference to our new courtyard garden. Plus you'll receive a beautiful plant, a pin badge and a packet of sensory seeds.

£500 or more

Party, plant and plaque

An exclusive invite to our garden launch party on 13th June for up to 4 people. Plant with us too on one of our special planting days, provisionally set for Friday 8th and Saturday 9th of June. You will also be featured on our specially-engraved plaque displayed in the garden. Plus you'll receive a plant, pin-badges and sensory seeds.

£1,000 or more

Your own event, party, plant and plaque

As well as invites to our opening garden party, you and a small group will get free use of one of our community rooms and gardens for a small family or corporate event (terms and conditions apply). You will also feature on a specially-engraved plaque displayed in the garden itself. Plus you will also be invited to our planting day and receive a plant, pin badges and sensory seeds.

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