Work has officially started on an ambitious project to create a dementia friendly garden at Clifton Hospital.
The hospital on Pershore Road, St Annes, played host to a number of people who turned up for the official sod cutting ceremony, marking the start of the work – Phase One of which will be complete by mid-September.
Dementia is something that affects every family – my mother had it so this project means a lot to me
The garden is being paid for from the Peace of Mind dementia appeal, run by Blue Skies Hospitals Fund – the charity for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Phase One, to be completed by contractor Eden, will see part of the courtyard enclosed to become a secure and interactive garden for patients on Ward 1 of the hospital.
It will boast a potting area where patients can help plant seeds, and a sensory area with smelling plants such as lavender and mint which will help calm a patient with dementia and help them remember a time when they might have tended their own garden.
It will also feature a gazebo and a potting shed.
Patients will be free to wander around the garden’s winding paths without the need of a nurse of carer present because of the high fencing that will separate the two phases.
The first turf was cut by Trust Chairman Ian Johnson and Chief Executive (Interim) Wendy Swift.
Among guests of honour was Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who praised Blackpool Teaching Hospitals for being pioneers in dementia care.
He said: “When it comes to Dementia, this Hospital Trust is leading the way with the colours and schemes it uses in its care.
“Dementia is very much a Cinderella illness which people do not talk about, but we have to make sure this remains a top priority. Thousands of my constituents suffer from this disease which also affects their families and loved ones.
“This garden will improve the lives of thousands of people.”
Also at the event was comedian Bobby Ball with his wife Yvonne and Fylde Coun Brenda Blackshaw.
All have pledged to raise funds for Phase Two of the garden – which will improve the remaining courtyard, echoing some of the feature from Phase One – with a concert to be held at the Lowther Pavilion on February 1 next year.
Bobby said: “Dementia is something that affects every family – my mother had it so this project means a lot to me. There is not enough money thrown at dementia care and that’s why we want to do as much as we can.
“We hope everyone comes out to support us.”
Guests enjoyed refreshments and a specially-made cake and scones after the ceremony.