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Call for volunteers to give a helping hand in Wick hospital garden

By Alan Hendry

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An appeal has gone out for volunteers to help look after a much-valued garden space at Wick’s Town and County Hospital.

The Friends of Town and County Hospital Garden began in 2016 and it is a registered charity, managed by a committee. It is operated entirely by volunteers on an NHS site.

The garden is divided into themed areas such as crofting, fishing and football and there is even a beach area. The aim is to encourage patients to reminisce.

Wick's Town and County Hospital has a garden that is looked after by a local charity.
Wick's Town and County Hospital has a garden that is looked after by a local charity.

Group members say they would love to see more volunteers joining in. They have twice-a-week gardening sessions from spring through to autumn.

Sarah Budge, NHS Highland’s frailty practitioner who is manager of the Newton ward at the hospital, said: “The Town and County Hospital has a wonderful core group of volunteers that maintain and develop the garden grounds.

“This space offers something unique to a clinical setting. Inpatients and their family or visitors can access the grounds safely outwith treatment times. This is hugely beneficial to the recovery process in its widest sense.

“The pathways created around the different garden spaces offer scope to practise walking outdoors, while the seated areas allow for restful breaks, distraction and talking points which are helpfully away from the clinical environment.

“There are bird feeders and beautiful flowers attracting wildlife and keeping both staff and patients connected to the outside world despite the stresses and strains of hospital life and work.

“This is particularly important for those who come to the Town and County for dignified end-of-life care. The volunteers work hard to maximise window view spaces of the garden for those unable to access the grounds. It can be a great place of solace as a result.

“If you feel you can offer any time to support with the garden maintenance please get in touch.”

Anyone willing to get involved can contact Helen Harper, the chairperson, on 01955 603839.

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