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Shakespearean Roof Garden for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital


"I know a place where wild thyme blooms" said Shakespeare's Oberon, and more than 400 years after the first performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the bard has inspired a rooftop garden at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

Staff from Unilever, corporate supporters of Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity, and students from Manchester Metropolitan University will be creating a sensory garden featuring plants and herbs referenced in Shakespearean plays for patients at the hospital to enjoy.

Garden 4The garden, which is being built as part of the Manchester Children's Book Festival, will be tied into the hospital school's curriculum and children will be able to visit it to learn why fennel was mentioned in Hamlet, or what the connection is between Othello and lettuce.

Alongside the garden, the Manchester Children's Book festival partner ReadWell will also be donating books for the hospital school.

Unilever owned PG Tips have donated £2,000 to pay for plants and other equipment to build the garden which will be a vibrant and relaxing outdoor space for patients to enjoy.


The thriving Manchester Metropolitan University Urban Gardening Society, jumped at the chance to help design agarden in such an unusual and useful spot.

All the plants used in the garden can be found in the bard of Avon's plays.  Examples include Lavender from A Winter's Tale, Rosemary from King Lear and Parsley from The Taming of the Shrew.  The garden will also feature solar lights and wind chimes of different materials.

The Therapeutic and Specialised Play Service, Hospital School and Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity are also grateful to Manchester City Football Club who sponsored the creation of the play area when the new Royal Manchester Children's hospital was built 5 Years ago.

Sarah Naismith, Head of Charities for Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity said:

Garden1"We are extremely grateful to Unilever and Manchester Metropolitan University for the time and effort they've committed to building the sensory roof garden at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.  The garden will make a valuable addition to the outdoor play area and it's fantastic that it will be up and running ready for summer."

She continued "The hospital school and Therapeutic and Specialised Play Services were keen for the garden to be educational, as well as therapeutic and a place for patients to have fun.  The Shakespearean theme is a wonderful way to engage the patients."

Scott Tanswell, a second year History student at MMU who is project managing the garden said:

"The terrace is a lovely space, but there's no greenery up there so it was an ideal spot to make the garden. It will have a huge impact on these children who aren't very well, and will hopefully help aid their recovery".

For more information about Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity visit: www.rmchcharity.org.uk


For further information please contact: Aimee Lawless on aimee.lawless@cmft.nhs.uk or 0161 276 4430

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 200,000 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.