Work progresses on Aldeburgh Community Hospital sensory garden

From left, landscape gardener Tony Crisp, lead matron Michelle Fletcher and League of Friends volunt

From left, landscape gardener Tony Crisp, lead matron Michelle Fletcher and League of Friends volunteer Anne Parsons. Picture: ALDEBURGH COMMUNITY HOSPITAL - Credit: IPSWICH HOSPITAL NHS TRUST

Green-fingered volunteers will see their dreams blossom when a new dementia-friendly sensory garden opens at a Suffolk hospital.

The garden, at the rear of Aldeburgh Community Hospital, will include an exercise area, a pavilion, a listening bench and scented, textured and edible plants.

The first turf was turned over earlier this month and the project, led by League of Friends of Aldeburgh Hospital, is likely to be completed in the summer.

Further funds are still needed to finish the garden, which is set to cost more than £30,000 in total.

“We will use the rear of the garden which is a big area but not that accessible for wheelchair users and people unsteady on their feet, so therefore is very under-used,” said Anne Parsons, who leads the volunteer garden team and is sensory garden project manager for the Friends group.

“It is designed to be an outdoor extension of the hospital’s facilities to aid rehabilitation and recuperation of patients and will also be a resource for the whole community.

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“We want to transform it into a place that can be enjoyed by all, but also offer areas of privacy for solace and stimulation.”

One of the garden’s main features will be a horseshoe-shaped listening seat featuring wooden seat planks that can be purchased by the public and engraved with names, statements or questions designed to spark conversation among dementia patients.

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Hospital matron Michelle Fletcher said: “This project has been three years in the making and it is finally coming to fruition.

“Anne has carried on with her vision through some difficult times and remained committed to the idea of a sensory garden.

“It’s an absolutely fabulous idea, it will be a place of retreat and will offer areas of solace and stimulation for both patients and their loved-ones.”

Research indicates patients who can enjoy green spaces recover and are able to return home more rapidly.

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