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A Visit to Camomile Courtyard

Published: 01 March 2019

Before Christmas, our Engineering students made metal Christmas trees out of aluminium, brass and engineering components, that were sold in aid of a new dementia-friendly garden at East Surrey Hospital, run by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH).

The £100 that was raised from the sales was handed over to the Hospital on Friday 1 March, when Engineering and Construction students and staff visited the new garden, named Camomile Courtyard. Landscaping work began on the garden in August 2018, with the aim of creating a purpose-built space for patients living with dementia. The area will be a calming environment, with sensory features to stimulate patients’ recall, with seating and water features.

Staff from the Hospital were also delighted to accept plant labels created by Engineering students, out of brass and stainless steel. Construction students had also built wooden new planters for the garden. 

Chris O'Connor, Consultant Admiral Nurse for Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, explained that: 

"This garden is adjacent to the frailty unit, but will be used by patients from around the hospital. Going outdoors has been shown to have multiple benefits including; providing physical exercise; helping to maintain normal sleeping patterns and daily rhythms; improving mood and helping people to cope with stress."

He expressed his gratitude to the College, stating: 

"We are really grateful to ESC for supporting our Camomile Courtyard, it's great to have this link with a local college. The different departments' projects will really benefit our patients and their carers who use and visit East Surrey Hospital. We are looking forward to ongoing projects with the College to help further develop the courtyard and benefit the patient experience."

The garden, due to be opened officially on Friday 8 March, will be maintained by volunteers, and plans include spaces for communal activities and 'reminiscence posters.'

Pictured below (clockwise): 

Students Kyran and Gracjan, Engineering Level 2, with their tutor Jason and the metal plant labels; the Courtyard's sheltered seating area; Chris O'Connor, SASH, and Ronan Murray, Construction Programme Manager at East Surrey College, with one of the wooden planters.  

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