Work on KGH’s dementia garden nears completion

Jayne Chambers in the dementia garden at KGH
Jayne Chambers in the dementia garden at KGH

Look at how far we have come!

That’s the message from Kettering General Hospital’s dementia garden appeal organiser Jayne Chambers as the garden nears completion.

Jayne Chambers with the Galley kitchen and Admiral Nurses office

Jayne Chambers with the Galley kitchen and Admiral Nurses office

In March 2017, the hospital’s Forget-Me-Not Appeal was launched to building a dementia-friendly garden in a courtyard adjacent to the Lamport and Twywell wards.

Back then the courtyard area between the wards was made up of unattractive concrete paving slabs and gravel with a single bench and table.

The aim of the appeal is to create a courtyard garden area with flowers, activity stations and a seaside theme that it is a safe and stimulating place for dementia patients and their families to spend time while they are in hospital.

Over the past 18 months the appeal has raised £50,000 and attracted a huge number of supporters including individuals and families touched by dementia and local businesses.

KGH's dementia garden before July 2016

KGH's dementia garden before July 2016

Appeal organiser Jayne Chambers, who works at the hospital as cancer services manager, said: “Work started on the garden in October 2017 and it has progressed wonderfully with some amazing support from the local community and local businesses.

“We now have block paved walkways, raised flower beds, benches and tables, and a huge seaside mural that runs across the four walls of the courtyard.

“Work has progressed on our café – to be called The Galley –and on our offices for our Admiral Nurses – dementia nurse specialists although we still have quite a bit of work to do on those.

“A recent new addition is a fantastic 6ft high working lighthouse which was created by Terry Nowlan, from Thrapston, who has spent countless hours making the model – which has a working light which rotates.

“When there is no work going on some patients have already been able go out there to enjoy the garden and it has really helped them to relax.

“They have also made suggestions on how it can be developed enabling them to feel part of the project.”

In the first phase of the community appeal the hospital is transforming the courtyard area into a walk-in garden.

A second stage to the appeal will aim to transform the ward areas themselves to make them more dementia-friendly.

In August people were asked to send postcards to the appeal and received more than 200 over the past few months.

The cards help to spark happy conversations with patients living with dementia about happy times in their lives.

They are still gratefully being received and can be sent to ‘KGH Dementia Garden’ c/o Jayne Chambers, Kettering General Hospital, Rothwell Road, Kettering, NN16 8UZ.

Anyone who wants to make a donation to the appeal can contact the fundraising department quoting the Forget-Me-Not Appeal on 01536-491569 or contact Jayne on jayne.chambers@kgh.nhs.uk.

You can also follow the appeal on Twitter @gardenkgh and Facebook @KetteringGeneralHospitalForgetmeNotCourtyardGardenAppeal.