Given its position on a busy hospital site, Sobell House Hospice in Oxford introduces a remarkable amount of contact with nature for those patients who find it helpful. Thanks to an unusual fundraising event, a new extension currently under construction will provide the opportunity for even more, and in a rather special way.
Visiting the hospice in the weeks before Christmas, a time when few gardens are at their most welcoming, it was good to see the conservatory at Sobell House being used by patients and families as a place to talk. Extending out into one the small gardens and furnished with well-tended houseplants, there’s a sense of being surrounded and supported by nature even when it’s too cold to sit outside.
The doors of the well-equipped music room open on to the same garden. Here, music therapist Tom Crook helps patients to write their own songs – recording them on CDs to share with friends and family. For patients who use nature for inspiration, the garden is close at hand. Hannah, an art therapist supported by Sobell House Charity, also helps them to explore their creativity, often taking nature as a starting point.
Thank you to Eden on Prescription for allowing us to link to the information about the social prescribing projects going on at the Eden Project. Always exciting when a good idea becomes reality. Even more so when it's evident that it's making a difference.
The Lambeth GP Food Co-operative has launched a video (part funded by NHS England) featuring its work and describing its vision.
As Dr Vikesh Sharma, a GP at the Grantham Practice in Stockwell, points out in the co-operative's latest newsletter, despite the project's success, prescribing gardening is still a novel idea to many patients. The challenge for a GP practice is 'to normalise the concept'. 'People come to GP surgeries and expect to be referred down certain pathways and it requires a change of mindset to consider the gardening club a viable option.' As the video demonstrates, this change is already beginning to take place.
Lambeth GP Food Co-operative celebrated its 3rd anniversary this year. A party at Lambeth Walk Surgery, together with a brain-scrambling quiz and a magnificent birthday cake, marked the event in style.
According to Project Director, Ed Rosen, the idea behind the project is really simple: ‘ to build life affirming gardens in every one of Lambeth’s GP surgeries.’
Retired nurse and Group Leader, Hilda Castillo-Binger, took ten minutes from hosting the party to show a LGHN representative around the Lambeth site. The paved area that runs alongside the surgery is filled with an impressive array of fruit, vegetables and herbs. They’re grown in raised beds and every imaginable form of container. Half empty compost bags seem to make particularly efficient, deep pots.
The little-known medical history of hospital gardens has been the topic for a unique installation at the Chelsea Fringe Festival, 18 May-5 June 2015. ‘Taking a Turn’ has been developed by gardening therapist and garden designer, Rebecca Smith, to explore the mental health history of hospital gardens over more than 200 years.
Michael Connors, Director of Services at Penny Brohn and member of the LGHN management board shares the presentation he gave at the LGHN seminar in 2015. Michael discussed the role of the garden within the therapeutic program at Penny Brohn. He emphasized how an understanding of Ecopsychology (including mindfulness, eco-therapy and nature and soul) is integrated within the service provision at Penny Brohn. The garden, which is sustained by a strong volunteer team, provides a symbolic meta model for a ‘journey of transformation’ (the Hero’s Journey).
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