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Dig the City: Pupils Grow Goodies for Charity ‘Playful Garden’

digthecityIn the first week of August Royal Manchester Children's Hospital will be showcasing their 'Playful Garden' at Manchester's Summer Garden Festival, Dig the City.

Edible plants for the purpose-built, multi-sensory garden have been grown by pupils at Victoria Park Infant School, Stretford who jumped at the chance to grow and give back. Following the festival the garden will be relocated to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where it will be rebuilt on the hospital's roof top play area for all the patients to enjoy.

Green-fingered pupils of all ages have cultivated an exciting array of plants and herbs, carefully tending to the seedlings which are now ready to be replanted in the charity's Dig the City entry. Kale, radish, lettuce and dill will stimulate with their scent, taste and tactility while colourful sunflowers will attract insects creating movement around the garden.  This sensory garden can be enjoyed by all patients, regardless of illness or disability.

The garden will be located on King Street in Manchester and has been designed by award-winning garden designer Sue Jeffries and hospital Play Leader John Smith, ensuring the hospital's young patients are very much in mind.

John, who built his own miniature therapeutic garden on Ward 83, as well as looking after the hospital's roof garden explains the benefits of connecting patients with nature:

"Bringing the outdoors to those in hospital gives children a sense of normality, there are also known improvements to their health. Interaction with plants, combined with getting the sun on your face, means blood pressure can drop and muscle tone improves.digthecity

Discussing plants with children provides them with a welcome distraction from their treatments; it is an ideal way to increase dialogue between staff and patients too. Parents also benefit from such gardens, providing a tranquil setting when needing to take a break from the ward."

Sue Jeffries who last year designed the winning 'Dig the City' entry agrees, with this in mind, the 'Playful Garden' will include a train track, tunnel and miniature lake and beach and fields, which will stimulate children's imagination as well as their senses.

Debbie Vrlec, Headteacher of Victoria Park Infant School says:

"'Victoria Park Infant School has always supported Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity. Pupils understand the importance of the hospital and are aware of how they can support its work. We have thoroughly enjoyed growing the plants that will be part of the Dig the City festival. Even more importantly, the children are very excited that the plants they have grown from seeds will continue to grow and be nurtured by the patients once the planter arrives at the rooftop garden."

The garden will be located on King Street in Manchester for the full week of the festival and is kindly supported by Revive Compost a Viridor product and Recycle for Greater Manchester (R4GM), Alison Heaton, R4GM Education Officer, says:

"We are delighted to be the sponsors of such an innovative garden project. This garden has been grown by children, for children to play in. The educational and health benefits of such a project are invaluable."

The support of the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity means that the hospital can provide additional resources that make life easier for patients and their families who use the hospital.

The Charity has three main areas of work:

  • to support research projects to improve our understanding of children's illnesses
  • to help to create an environment that's more child-friendly
  • to provide state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosis and treatment.

Don't forget to tweet us a photo of yourself at our @digthecitymcr garden - @rmchcharity


For further information please contact Aimee Lawless 07827 866286 or e-mail aimee.lawless@cmft.nhs.uk

Notes to Editors

  • The Charity provides resources to make a difficult time a little bit easier for children and their families who use Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.
  • Royal Manchester Children's Hospital treats over 220,000 patients every year.  They come from all over the North West of England and from other parts of the country for some highly specialised treatments.
  • Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity is part of the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity.  Registered charity number 1049274.
  • The other hospitals which make up Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity are: University Dental Hospital of Manchester Charity; Manchester Royal Eye Hospital Charity; Manchester Royal Infirmary Charity; Saint Mary's Hospital Charity; Trafford Hospitals Charity
  • Revive compost is a Viridor product and is made from 100% natural, organic materials from the homes and gardens of the Greater Manchester public. Revive compost meets the highest quality standard in their market. This includes the Compost Quality Protocol (CQP) and the BSI PAS 100 standard, the leading industry accreditation for compost quality.
  • Recycle for Greater Manchester is a partnership between Viridor Laing (Greater Manchester) Limited (VLGM) and the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA), encouraging the people of Greater Manchester to recycle more and recycle better. Our Vision is to help make Greater Manchester a shining example of urban recycling.