22nd July 2019

Apprentices create garden haven for hospice

Many hands were making light work of a garden transformation at a Worcestershire hospice.

Around 40 apprentices from Western Power Distribution set to work to turn a stony internal courtyard at St Richard’s Hospice, Worcester, into a delightful, therapeutic garden for patients and their families to enjoy.

The WPD Apprentice Challenge workforce toiled through the heat to build wooden raised plant beds and seats and move 100 tonnes of topsoil by wheelbarrow to complete the transformation. They also spruced up the family support garden in the hospice grounds.

The WPD project co-ordinator and trainer, Darren Barry, said,” ‘The WPD Apprentice Challenge is an integral part of the trainees work plan; it’s designed to give them a challenge in an unfamiliar environment involving different tasks to their normal working day.’

‘We like to work with community-based charities like the hospice as we both provide an essential service to the local community. Each challenge is unique and is very much designed about the needs of the beneficiary we are working with.’

St Richard’s chief executive June Patel said, “It’s a dream come true to have the big garden project taken from start to finish by the fantastic WPD team in less than a week. It was an extra-ordinary amount of work and the end result of a calm and peaceful garden haven will bring great joy to our patients and families. We can’t thank them enough for all their hard work.”

Once the structure was completed, Webbs Garden Centres donated a stunning white-themed array of flowers and shrubs to make the transformation complete. The Webbs team, including chairman Ed Webb, also shared their expertise on planting with the apprentices.

June Patel added, “Webbs has supported St Richard’s over many years and we’re delighted that they’ve very generously donated the plants to create a gorgeous garden. Plants and horticulture and the sights, sounds and smells of a garden help create a tranquil and beautiful space in which patients and their loved ones can relax and reflect.  The raised beds improve access for patients to get involved in some light gardening if they wish to – many of them tell us how much they love getting their hands into the soil and how it improves their wellbeing.”

Ed Webb, said, “Our team supports St Richard’s in many ways, and as a local Wychbold-based company, we all know people who have been cared for by the hospice. It’s a privilege for us to use our plant knowledge and skills to help provide a lovely garden which gives people a chance to connect to nature and is very therapeutic.”

The courtyard project was also supported by Tarmac and a number of other local companies.

The courtyard garden lies next to a newly extended area of the hospice which is currently under construction as part of the Build 2020 Appeal to redevelop and extent St Richard’s so more patients and families can be cared for in Worcestershire.

St Richard’s Hospice cares for adults with a serious progressive illness, improving their quality of life from diagnosis, during treatment and to their last days. It also supports their loved ones.

Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,300 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.

St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations and gifts in Wills for the majority of its income with 22% funded by the NHS.