RVS Garden at Falkirk Community Hospital

Beautiful gardens have been created in the grounds of Falkirk Community Hospital thanks to a generous donation from the Royal Voluntary Service (formerly known as WRVS).

NHS Forth Valley received the biggest ever single donation from an individual charity – £175,000 – from the Royal Voluntary Service in March 2012.  The money was raised by through a variety of local projects including the proceeds from their cafes in Stirling and Falkirk Community hospitals.

Some of this funding has now been used to create new gardens at Falkirk Community Hospital. A new sensory garden has been created in an inner courtyard area, which can be accessed by patients in the four inpatient wards and a separate landscaped garden has also be developed in the area outside the day hospital.

Both gardens are accessible for patients and their families to ensure they are able spend more time outdoors in pleasant surroundings. Careful attention has also been given to the materials used and the colours, textures and smells of plants within the gardens to create an enjoyable and interesting sensory experience. The inner courtyard garden contains an adaptable area of paving which can be used for a range of activities and a simple walking route to encourage patients to walk around and interact with the surrounding plants and flowers. Seating, sheltered areas and a water feature have also been created so patients can enjoy relaxing in the fresh air. There will also be opportunities for patients and staff to get involved in some ‘hands-on’ gardening and Royal Voluntary Service volunteers have also offered to help maintain the gardens and raised beds.

In addition, as some of the patients who use the sensory garden have dementia, the chosen design has a clearly understandable layout and style.

Alex Linkston, Chairman of Forth Valley Royal Hospital, said:

 We cannot thank the Royal Voluntary Service enough for their generous donation which has not only made these gardens possible but also funded the development of a wide range of projects and initiatives to improve the lives of older people across Forth Valley.”

Avril Magill, NHS Forth Valley’s Clinical Nurse Manager for Community Hospitals, said:

 Many of our patients spend a long time in hospital and being able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, smells and beautiful colours makes a huge difference to their overall health and wellbeing. It’s also enabled our staff and visitors to spend more time outside with patients during breaks and visiting times which is particularly appreciated when the weather is nice.”

Margaret Paterson, Royal Voluntary Service Head of Service for Scotland, said:

 It’s lovely to see the finished design and witness first hand how much these new gardens are being enjoyed by patients, staff and visitors. Not only has it created a pleasant place to spend time outdoors it’s also created a lovely outlook from all four wards within the hospital for patients who are unable to go outside.”