Disused courtyard at Rutland Memorial Hospital will become £100,000 therapeutic garden

Have your say

A £100,000 project will transform a disused courtyard into a therapeutic garden for patients staying in hospital.

It is hoped the new garden at Rutland Memorial Hospital in Cold Overton Road, Oakham, will open in the summer.

As part of the project, the overgrown courtyard, which leads to the hospital’s inpatient ward, will become an area for rest and relaxation for patients, visitors and staff.

Outline plans have already been drawn up by architect Martin Wilson, supported by landscape garden expert David Penny, and work is due to start in the spring.

The garden will include raised planting, landscaping and seating areas, set against a backdrop of bespoke artwork. It will be lit up at night with low energy lighting so it can be enjoyed inside the building.

The raised planting, which will provide colour all year round, has been designed so wheelchair users can get involved with maintaining the garden.

The work is being funded through charitable donations, including a legacy to the hospital from Edward Toon, a funeral director from Uppingham who died in 2007 aged 96. He left £100,000 to the hospital.

The hospital’s League of Friends and the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Primary Care Trust, which owns the hospital, have also given grants to the project.

The project is being led by Dave Woodcock, head of capital developments and strategy for Leicestershire Partnership Trust, which manages the site and provides inpatient 

The trust is hoping the community will get involved in the project and is hoping for donations.

Mr Woodcock said: “We see this exciting development very much as a local community project to improve the amenity of the local hospital.

“While funding for the major works has been secured, donations for additional artwork or other items will be very welcome. The aim is to create a peaceful, contemplative, restful space that lifts the spirits, and is safe and easy to maintain.”

He said a local art group or college would be approached to design the artwork, which will represent the county.

Mr Woodcock said the aim of the garden was to improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the stress associated with a hospital stay.

He added: “It encourages patients to go outside for exercise, sunlight and fresh air and can provide a temporary escape from the clinical environment for patients and visitors alike.”

To find out more, to nominate your art group to be involved or to make a donation contact Donna Phillips on 01664 854806.