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The Haven

A Lanarkshire charity supporting families affected by life-limiting illness has reinstated their sensory garden to create a soothing retreat.

GP Plantscape have been working with the team at The Haven to bring the garden at their dedicated support centre in rural Forth back to life.

The Haven provides a range of services for those with a diagnosis and wider family members in a caring role or coping with the emotional demands of living with a relative with a serious illness.

Dale Williams, sustainability coordinator, said: “It’s really important for us to have the therapeutic, relaxing sensory garden space that enhances the services and support on offer from The Haven.

“Our clients spend enough time in clinical, GP and hospital settings, so it’s really important for our centres to be relaxing, calming peaceful spaces for them and it can be a separation from the illness or caring.

“One of the real positives of this environment is the outlook, with the views over Tinto Hill and with the big windows in our lounge area, so whatever the weather clients can look out to the garden and get the benefit of the view.”

In June, as well as delivering digital services, the charity recommenced face to face sessions at the centre for clients throughout North and South Lanarkshire.

However, while the gardens have been maintained by GP Plantscape throughout the pandemic, severe winters over the last two years had taken their toll on some of the planting.

With the help of Community Led Local Development funding, a project was rolled out to replant the garden to bring it back to its former glory.

In keeping with the original planting scheme, varieties of heather, Skimmia japonica ‘Marlot; Viburnum davidii and Hebe rakaiensis replaced dead and damaged plants to revitalise the outside space.

Now, the garden is once again thriving, bringing vitality to the exterior environment.

As part of the overall project, the mono blocks were power washed to improve the appearance and remove any slip hazards from build-up of dirt and algae.

Janice Williams, chief executive officer, said: “The garden is such an important part of the ambience of The Haven in Forth.

“We get a lot of feedback from clients about the benefits of this peaceful space.”

“She said: “”I’d like to say thank you to GP Plantscape, who have been extremely supportive to The Haven over the years. 

“We know we are in good hands when you come in and maintain the garden every couple of weeks during the summer and assist with gritting for us over the winter, helping to keep the ground safe.”

The centre at Forth opened in 2017 and will continue to deliver a hybrid model of services.

The Haven also has centres in Blantyre and in the grounds of University Hospital Wishaw.

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