14 December 2022 | Comment | Article by Cari Sowden-Taylor
Hugh James has extended its regional partnership with Horatio’s Garden, which will see the specialist Neurolaw team continue to provide volunteer support and raise vital funds and awareness for the garden at the NHS spinal injury centre at the University Hospital Llandough.
The first of its kind in Wales, Horatio’s Garden has been carefully designed by two-time RHS Chelsea Gold Medal winner, Sarah Price, to provide a sanctuary for thousands of people affected by spinal cord injury from across Wales and the South West of England.
The new regional partnership builds on a successful four-year relationship and ensures Hugh James continues to support people and their families adjusting to a life-changing injury. Twelve members of our Neurolaw team are committed to volunteering their time, on rotation, on a weekly basis. Their support helps the garden to grow and flourish into the haven it has become for the patients and reinforces our commitment to supporting the communities we represent.
Speaking of the partnership, Cari Sowden-Taylor, Partner, said:
We are extremely proud of our regional partnership with Horatio’s Garden, and therefore delighted to extend what has been a fantastic four-year partnership supporting their vital work for those adjusting to life after spinal injury. Seeing the new garden in Wales being launched this summer was truly magical, especially after all the challenges that came with the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnessing the joy that the garden brings to spinal cord injured patients and their families is very special and is a privilege shared throughout the Neurolaw team, with more fundraising and weekly volunteering sessions planned for 2023.
Marking the start of the new partnership, Solicitor Ellice Harding braved the cold December temperatures to help Head Gardener Owen Griffiths plant the Salvia and pot up the Sempervivum plants, all while making sure the patients had hot drinks and cake for the festive wreath making class.
Horatio’s Garden has grown incredibly close to my heart, especially over this past year. It’s amazing to see first-hand what the garden means to not just patients, but their relatives, hospital staff and the volunteers. I’m thrilled that Hugh James has been named as regional partner for Horatio’s Garden Wales and am so excited to see what’s to come for the charity going forward.
Bethan Cummings, Director of Fundraising for Horatio’s Garden, commented:
The whole team at Hugh James have always shown such belief in what we had planned for Horatio’s Garden Wales, and even in the early days - whilst we were still designing and planning the garden - they were always right behind us offering their support. Over the years the team have done so much to support us, that we really can’t than them enough.
They have been instrumental in helping us raise awareness about the project and have been involved in our Wales fundraising committee from the outset. They were the first in line to help with the planting of the garden and its fair to say that their fingerprints are across the garden – literally in some places - in everything we do there. Thank you for everything you have done for us.
As well as providing green fingered support, the Hugh James team has raised vital funds for Horatio’s Garden Wales Fundraising Committee, exceeding the targets set for funding garden maintenance.
Associate Solicitor within the Court of Protection team, Joy Davies, and joint chair of the committee, said:
Within the past year we arranged various events to include an afternoon tea at Miskin Manor, an open house at Llanover House and a Christmas quiz. I was part of a team of eight from Hugh James’ catastrophic injury team who were due to run the Cardiff Half Marathon in 2021 in aid of Horatio’s Garden. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race did not proceed.
However, we set ourselves the challenge of running 2800 kilometres between us over a period of four months. We raised over £3000.00 which was used to help fund the build. Whilst running the distance we reminded ourselves of the difficulties we all faced during the pandemic and the importance of outdoor space for all. This would have been a particularly difficult time for the patients who would have been unable to see their families on the ward.
Sandeep Gill, Senior Associate in the Neurolaw department also articulates the benefits of the outdoor environment, commenting:
Designed by two-time RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner Sarah Price and immaculately cared for by Head Gardener, Owen Griffiths, the garden is joy to be in. I have had the privilege to work in the garden with them both and learn so much from them. However, what I enjoy most about my days in the garden is having the opportunity to interact with the patients who are always happy to chat.
What always amazes me is that when in the garden the conversations are about anything and everything other than why they are patients. In truth, that is what I feel Horatio’s Garden does so well. It has been said in so many different ways, that when the days are at their darkest that a bright light can emerge that guides the way. For many Horatio’s Garden, Wales is that bright light.