The chaplaincy team at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is keen to hear local people’s views on how best to improve a garden of remembrance at Torbay Hospital.
Named the ‘heartsease garden’, after the heartsease flower (viola) which was traditionally given to ease the pain of parting, the garden is in a quiet spot at Torbay Hospital. For more than ten years it has provided a space in which bereaved parents can remember the babies they have lost during child birth or in infancy.
Hospital Chaplain, Revd Martin Manley, explains why he is now consulting on changes to the garden:
Thanks to modern healthcare, most parents never have to face the trauma of losing a child during or shortly after birth, but for those who do it is an absolute tragedy. We know that having a special place to remember their loved one is really important, and can help with the grieving process.
Although our heartsease garden is in a quiet, sheltered space with commemorative plaques and a bench, it does need some attention. We have managed to gain some charitable funding to improve the garden’s environment. We have some ideas, for example about new planting and brightening up the entrance. We’d really like to make it more child-friendly too, as sometimes parents want to visit with siblings of the child they lost.
We are very keen to hear the views of people who use the garden of what they would like to see in the garden in future. We would also be very pleased if any local gardeners might like to volunteer their time to work with us on this project helping us to create a meditative, comforting and more child-friendly space.
The Trust is currently consulting with local people to seek their views so that work can start in the garden this autumn. People can have their say by contacting the Trust’s Chaplaincy Office on 01803 654186 by the end of September.
Anyone who has placed personal commemorative items in the garden is also being asked to collect them by Monday 1 October 2018 before work starts later that month
Revd Manley said:
We are very sensitive to the fact that some people have placed teddies and other toys in the garden as an act remembrance. If we know who the owner is, we will contact them individually to ask them if they wish to collect and keep the items. Any unclaimed items and will be removed and stored safely for at least a year, so that people will have an opportunity to reclaim them on their anniversary dates.
Anyone who wishes to comment or get involved can call the Trust’s Chaplaincy Office on 01803 654186 or the Estates Manager on 01803 654100.