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Growing support for hospices in the country’s best gardens

Author: Stephen Clark, Senior Media & PR Officer, Hospice UK
18 March 2016
  • The garden at Royal Trinity Hospice in London, which will again be open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme this year

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) this week launches 'Gardens to Visit' (popularly known as the Yellow Book), the eagerly awaited annual publication detailing gardens that will be welcoming visitors and raising funds for charity in 2016, including Hospice UK.

The NGS has been supporting Hospice UK since 1997 and is one of its most valued supporters. This is made possible thanks to keen gardeners opening up more than 3,800 spectacular outdoor spaces to the public who donate a small entry fee and also buy refreshments and exclusive plants sold by the garden owners.

Every year, the NGS supports a group of local and national charities. The NGS has announced that Hospice UK will receive an amazing £500,000 from garden openings last year, taking the total of NGS donations to Hospice UK to a fantastic £4m.

This has allowed Hospice UK to deliver important training and development opportunities for hospice teams supporting people at the end of life across the UK, as well as ensuring that hospices are not short-changed by developments in national policy. In 2015 this included securing fairer VAT rules for hospices that will save hospices over £25m per year to put back into patient care.

Gardens have an important role in hospice care, providing a peaceful location for rest and reflection with many used as quiet places for bereavement support for a patient’s loved ones.

Day care programmes also incorporate gardening or horticultural therapy into their activities as they encourage patients to spend time together, swap memories and learn new skills. Many modern hospices have patient rooms with garden views, in recognition of their value in promoting emotional wellbeing.

In 2016 eight hospices from across the UK will be opening their grounds to visitors at different points across the year. Gardens will be open once again at Royal Trinity Hospice in London, St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol, and the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted. And for the first time, visitors will be welcomed to the gardens at Richard House Children’s Hospice in London, Hospice Isle of Man, St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham, George Thomas Hospice Care in south Glamorgan and Butterfly Hospice in Lincolnshire.

"Gardens have always been so important to hospices; they provide areas for quiet reflection and space for talking therapies, as well as promoting patient wellbeing," Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of Hospice UK, said.

"The fantastic support that the National Gardens Scheme has shown hospice care through its partnership with Hospice UK means that every garden in the Yellow Book becomes a garden for hospice care. Since 1997 this support has been vital to Hospice UK and those in need of hospice care across the country, and for that we are truly grateful."

The NGS also supports the annual Hospice UK awards which highlight excellence, innovation and dedication in end of life care.

Other charities that have been awarded grants by the NGS include Marie Curie and Macmillan Cancer Support. More information about the scheme is available on the NGS website.

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