Older patients receiving care from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust at a specialist unit in Ipswich are now able to make the most of the great outdoors following a mini-garden makeover.

Large planters which were once left derelict and unkempt have been filled with colourful plants and aromatic herbs, in turn bringing the courtyard at The Willows, which is part of Woodlands Unit at Ipswich Hospital, to life. Elsewhere, new seating has been added and tomatoes and peppers planted so that service users can enjoy growing their own vegetables.

The project was made possible thanks to the Woodbridge branch of Wyevale, which donated the plants, compost and gardening gloves to NSFT Staff Nurse Lesley Bradshaw. Some of NSFT’s service users helped with the planting, while more patients than ever now using the new-look garden to enjoy time away from the ward.

“We are really pleased with the makeover, which has added some colour, texture and aroma to what was once a rather bland and unloved courtyard,” said Lesley. “We asked our patients if they would like to get involved in planting and they really enjoyed it and found it quite therapeutic – one lady in particular who loves gardening at home was in her element.

“We are very grateful to Wyevale for their generosity, without which this project would not have been possible. More people are now using the space and enjoying sitting outside to get some fresh air, which shows that they really appreciate the work we’ve done.”

Brian Luke, Charity Champion with Wyevale, said: “It is a pleasure to help and I hope that we are able to support the unit again in the future and that many people get to enjoy the new space.

“I would like to thank John Bishop, the Garden Centre Manager, Mike Upson, our Horticulture Manager, and Tom Nunn, our Horticulture Team Leader, for making this all possible.

“It is my intention to do what I can to support our local communities in my role as Wyevale, Woodbridge Charity Champion.”

From NSFT Website