As regional partners of Horatio’s Garden Wales, Hugh James were thrilled to be asked to welcome Horatio’s Garden’s Northern Ireland partners Ulster Rugby to the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre at Llandough Hospital ahead of their clash with Cardiff Rugby last weekend.
Joy Davies, Senior Associate in our Court of Protection team discusses her time volunteering at Horatio’s Garden in Llandough, which she describes as a “a great honour to be invited to provide a tour of the garden to Ulster Rugby.”
I am grateful that I have been provided with the opportunity to volunteer in the garden at Llandough Hospital and to be a part of the Horatio’s Garden Wales Fundraising Committee. I was able to provide a tour to the representatives of the club and provide a background of the journey to complete the garden and the continued efforts to raise vital funds for the garden.
Ulster Rugby have named Horatio’s Garden as their nominated partner. They are instrumental in helping the final fundraising push to create Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland which will be situated in Musgrave Hospital.
Ulster’s Chairman, Philip Gregg, together with their Treasurer, Michael Boyd and their Branch Chair, Paul Terrington, joined patients, volunteers and NHS staff at the Horatio’s Garden in Llandough ahead of their match against Cardiff Rugby.
Their spirits were lifted ahead of the rugby game as they were able to witness first hand the benefits that the completed garden brought to the patients who were being treated at the spinal Cord Injuries Unit.
I have recently been appointed as a joint Chair for the Horatio’s Garden Wales Fundraising Committee. I hope to continue the success of the previous year in which we exceeded our target to fund the maintenance of the garden. Yet, in my opinion, the most crucial part of our role has been spreading the word of Horatio’s Garden and the benefits that this amazing charity provide to patients during such difficult periods of their life.
Many our clients have previously been patients within the Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Centre. Our clients have confirmed the need for outdoor space when they are spending significant time in hospital recovering from life changing injuries.
Recently, a friend of mine sadly sustained a spinal cord injury following a serious road traffic accident. Having been a very active man with a close family and a labour-intensive job he found the recovery period particularly challenging whilst remaining in hospital. Following his discharge from hospital, he expressed the benefit of having a peaceful sanctuary for him and his family away from the ward. Listening to these experiences reminds me how important our small role within the Horatio’s Garden family really is.
Horatio’s Garden Wales provides accessible gardens and a spectacular garden pavilion which ensures that the patients can use the space in all weathers. In addition, the garden provides space for additional activities which are arranged by Horatio’s Garden. During my time at the garden, I was fortunate to witness Kevin Williams, a local artist, undertaking a session outside the pavilion.
Personally, volunteering at the garden has provided me with my own piece of sanctuary. Under Owen’s supervision and experience I have learnt a great deal. My husband is a keen gardener and I have always been quite content to leave him to it. Having just returned to the office after a period of maternity leave, following the birth of my second child, I often do not have the time (or the inclination) to tend to my own garden at home. However, having the opportunity to volunteer at Horatio’s Garden has enabled me to take the time to get outdoors and experience nature first hand whilst knowing the benefits that this has provided to the patients.
Often, when volunteering at the garden, I have been able to sit with the patients in the garden. A couple of the patients that are currently at the centre have taken a keen interest in the bird boxes which have been placed within the garden to encourage wild birds into the garden. They have taken it upon themselves to refill the boxes and Horatio’s Garden has recently installed cameras within the boxes to enable a live feed for the patients to monitor and enjoy.
The garden is still relatively new and it has been a real joy to be able to witness how it is developing and adapting to its environment. It has also been a pleasure to see how the patients have embraced the garden and all that it provides for them during their stay in the centre. The Ulster Rugby representatives were clearly eager to create a similar sanctuary space at Musgrave Park Hospital.