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Sensory garden opens

Sensory garden opens

A public area at Darlington Memorial Hospital has been transformed into a sensory garden, thanks to a childhood memory that never left a local young man.

Callum Crowther, now 17, recalls visiting a relative in the hospital when he was younger and noticing the grassed area, which had some seating. "It struck me that with a bit of work and investment, the space could be turned into a garden, creating a peaceful place for patients, visitors and staff - a kind of haven.  When I joined Safe in Tees Valley's NCS (National Citizen Service), last year, I realised my dream could become a reality.

"I particularly liked the idea of a sensory garden because patients with dementia, who struggle with so much of everyday life, can still get pleasure from sights, smells, sounds, etc."

Callum shared his vision with Nathan Mitchell (18), who he met through NCS, and they approached County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, with their plans, before successfully applying for £1,000 of funding from UK Youth's Starbucks Youth Action Fund.

Associate Director of Facilities at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Stuart Wray, said, "Callum and Nathan are very impressive young men:  coming up with the plans themselves, securing funding, then getting together a team of volunteers to make their dream a reality.  We are very grateful to them for creating a lovely, peaceful area which everyone can enjoy. 

"Callum and Nathan have devoted sections of the garden to each of the senses, bringing the whole area to life.  Colourful plants will flower throughout the summer and wonderful smells will waft from lavender and lemon conifers.  Established trees, will provide shaded areas and their branches will be decorated with wind chimes.

"We recognise that attending hospital either as a patient or visitor can be stressful.  Having tests and treatment, waiting for a diagnosis or visiting a loved one who is sick can all be difficult and we hope the garden offers a respite from that. 

"We will, of course, maintain the garden and continue to develop it as it becomes established."

'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital