15 June 2023

Therapy garden and ‘sowing room’ opens at Eastbourne DGH

Did you know there is a dedicated therapy garden at Eastbourne District General Hospital?

Therapy garden and 'sowing room' opens at Eastbourne DGH

With the support of staff fundraising efforts and the ongoing generosity of The Friends of Eastbourne Hospital, our occupational therapy team have been able to create a peaceful space for patients and colleagues to enjoy. The garden is full of beautiful plants and flowers, seating areas and the ‘sowing room’ – a dedicated treatment area which opens out into the garden.

The therapy garden aims to enable people to experience the different gifts the space has offer. By the end of your visit to the garden, you will hopefully have a greater awareness of how occupational therapists can use therapeutic horticulture as part of their assessment and interventions.

Therapy garden and 'sowing room' opens at Eastbourne DGH

Emma Callaghan, Occupational Therapist, said: “The garden has been designed from a research evidence base, utilising the restorative effects of nature and the outdoors to support patient wellbeing. The garden isn’t perfect, it is a living space waiting for interaction with its visitors. We encourage visitors to take a sensory approach and smell, taste and touch the plants growing in the assorted pots and trugs.

“We hope that patients who visit the garden will reminisce and reflect, rather than focus on the illness that has brought them into hospital. Our garden is somewhere for visiting with family and friends, or for quiet time away from the bustle of the wards. There is seating within the garden and ramp access for wheelchairs and beds to make the space accessible to all.”

Therapy garden and 'sowing room' opens at Eastbourne DGH

To celebrate the opening of the ‘sowing room’, a two-day garden open event was held to promote the therapy garden. There was a great turn out, with lots of colleagues and patients popping in, enjoying mocktails with mint picked from the garden, rose flavoured biscuits and Tisanne tea’s made from rosemary and lemon balm.

“It was lovely to see so many people,” continued Emma. “All feedback was gratefully received and we hope many more people will be able to enjoy the garden over the summer months. If you are a patient or if you are visiting a patient and would like to spend some time in the therapy garden, please speak to a member of ward staff who will be able to direct you and give you the key to get in.”

In order to be accessible for those not well enough to come down to the garden, the team have created a virtual tour of the garden. “We hope that patients who can’t get to the garden right now can watch our video, with the goal of visiting the space in person during their stay,” said Emma.

Watch the virtual tour.

Therapy garden and 'sowing room' opens at Eastbourne DGH

A number of wards and teams already have their own key to access the garden. If you are a colleague and would like a key to keep in your area, please contact the occupational therapy team.