Horatio’s Garden is a charity that creates and lovingly cares for beautiful accessible gardens in NHS spinal injury centres.
There are three Horatio’s Gardens - in Salisbury, Scotland and Stoke Mandeville. Our aim is to bring a beautiful garden to all eleven NHS spinal injury centres.
Leading garden designers develop the stunning sanctuaries for patients and their family and friends, creating an environment which becomes an integral part of their lives and care whilst spending many months in hospital.
Spinal cord injuries are catastrophic, life-changing events. Patients often have little or no access to the outside world during their hospital stay, yet research shows that at times of stress, being outside with nature contributes to a feeling of wellbeing.
The charity’s volunteer team, led by a head gardener, keep the gardens looking beautiful, help run activities for patients and contribute to the happy, uplifting atmosphere which permeates Horatio’s Gardens. Some volunteers have spinal injuries and young people can join as a ‘Volunteens’.
Horatio’s Gardens provide patients with somewhere to find much-needed solace in an oasis of planting even in their hospital beds. Patients can take part in gentle rehabilitation activities in the gardens organised by the charity, including garden therapy, art therapy and music performances.
An essential part of the atmosphere in the gardens is created by the sharing of cups of tea and home made cakes with patients, family or friends, volunteers and staff. Horatio’s Gardens are places where kindness is central.
“The first time I went in to the garden I was overwhelmed with tears and a sense of relief and excitement that there was somewhere to go other than the ward.”