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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Green space for rest and reflection is formally opened

A peaceful garden where Solent staff can escape the hustle and bustle of work to remember family, friends and colleagues they have lost has been formally opened.

The charity funded garden in the grounds of St James’ Hospital, Portsmouth, is intended as an oasis of calm where anyone working for Solent NHS Trust can go for a moment of reflection.

At its heart are 12 words of significance suggested by Trust staff following an appeal made across the workforce over the summer.

The sun shone as the finished garden received a blessing from Trust Chaplain Emma D’aeth, who described gardens as amazing places which kept flourishing regardless of what else was happening in the world.

Encouraging staff to visit the memorial garden, Mrs D’aeth said: “After the sadness of the pandemic, here is something of beauty and serenity. Regardless of their faith, staff can come away from the noise and busyness of our wards and departments for a small moment of peace and stillness.”

The garden, situated under trees opposite The Limes building, features curved benching around a focal point for reflection. The location was chosen for its tranquillity and accessibility.

Andrew Strevens, Solent NHS Trust Chief Executive, said: “This is going to be a fantastic facility where our staff can take a moment to remember family, friends and colleagues who have sadly passed away.

“Our thanks go to everyone who took the time to suggest a word to be featured; the 12 selected have made the garden into something unique and truly special.”

Guests at the opening included members of staff who had suggested poignant words to feature at the site. Their words were chosen from a list of over 50 suggestions submitted by individuals, teams and departments across the organisation.

The chosen 12 feature prominently, either incorporated into the resin path or carved into wooden bench backs.

Funded by Solent NHS Trust’s Charitable Funds Committee, the memorial garden was designed by Studio Four Architects and created by  Rocon Contractors Ltd.

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