Latest News - Award for the Therapy Garden!
The St Nic’s team that works in the Therapy Garden at WB Community Hospital is delighted to hear that the Garden has won the Green Space category in this year’s NHS Sustainable Health & Care Awards. The press release from the Berkshire Healthcare Trust says: “Winning the Green Space award is an amazing achievement and recognition of the incredible hard work and dedication by the clinical lead, Christine Stockwell and the team of volunteers from St Nicolas Church. The therapy garden is a fantastic example of how we recognise that providing good quality green space can contribute significantly to a health and care service that embraces sustainability in the truest sense of the word". https://www.nhsemployers.org/media-centre/2018/11/sdu-awards-sustainability
Who we are
The TOWN Team's remit from the PCC is to:
Enable, encourage and celebrate the participation of individual church members in local community work and maintain knowledge of what they are doing;
Provide opportunities for organisations engaged in community work to raise and maintain their profile with church members;
Maintain and develop St Nicolas’ contribution to the West Berkshire Community Hospital Therapy Garden;
Be responsive to any further ministries addressing local community needs which we feel called to address;
Provide oversight of the Charity Coffee Mornings held on Thursdays in St Nicolas Hall and support and encourage those church members who facilitate this.
The emphasis in this work is about service to the community as our response to and demonstration of God’s love.
We have lots to do; please get in touch:
Vivien Staunton 01635 48055 firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Moore 01635 41026 email@example.com
What we are doing
We know about our involvement in the community through surveys where we asked our congregations about voluntary and professional involvement in a wide range of community activities and what skills people had that might help.
What we are doing is encouraging…
Mental Health ¤ Photography ¤ Newbury Spring Festival ¤ Theatre Direction ¤ Sports Coaching ¤ Arts ¤ Music ¤ Knitting ¤ Book Clubs ¤ School Governor ¤ Guides ¤ Charity administration ¤ Mentoring ¤ Neighbourhood Watch ¤ Social provision ¤ Uniformed organisations ¤ Youth work
A couple of examples are here:
Newbury Street Pastors - Marcia Wadham
Being a prayer pastor for Newbury Street Pastors certainly has its challenges. Staying up until 4am on a Saturday night is not always easy. But knowing that you are playing an important part in a ministry which is really making a difference in your town certainly makes it all worthwhile. While the Street Pastors are out meeting party-goers and others enjoying the night time economy in the town centre, we prayer pastors remain back at base praying for the work and providing practical support, like making hot drinks and preparing hot food for the team when they come back for their mid-shift break, at around 1am. We may not get to experience the buzz of being out talking to people, but looking through the prayer book and seeing all the answers to prayer we have seen over the past four years is reward enough to carry on.
Loose Ends Volunteering - Graeme Coulam
Volunteering at Loose Ends has been interesting and rewarding in many unexpected ways. Obviously it is nice to think that you are providing a valuable meal to people who might not otherwise have food for the day, but actually many of the people who come to Loose Ends are not necessarily hungry or homeless, but they use it as a safe place to meet socially. So it's not just about providing food, but about providing a venue where people feel safe and welcomed. That often feels like a more important contribution.
It has also been good getting to know the other volunteers. I had expected I might spend more time with those using the service, but it doesn't quite work like that. But you do get time to chat to the other volunteers who come from all over the region to help. It's amazing how word of Loose Ends has spread.
It is brilliantly run, and there's no pressure to volunteer if you haven’t got time. The rota goes round and you add your name if you're free, and it is very nice to know that you can help when you're able and not feel guilty if you have to say no. I think a lot of people are put off volunteering because they are afraid they will be dragged on to a committee or spend more time than they want to, but Loose Ends isn't like that. Of course, if you want to get heavily involved you can, but there is no obligation.
Oh and one more thing, if they happen to over cater – you never know who is going to turn up – you often end up getting a delicious lunch (or breakfast) for your effort. That's not a bad return for a couple of hours of volunteering!
Do tell us what you do!
West Berkshire Community Hospital Therapy Garden
We have been working hard to help re-create a garden at the West Berkshire Community Hospital. The garden is beautiful to look at and provides a therapeutic function for patients with Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions, as well as those in general convalescence, by involving them in tending the garden. Plants are being incorporated for sensory stimulation to help patients become more connected with the present as well as with past events.
2017 was a really enjoyable season at the hospital. Our team of volunteers has grown as have our links with hospital staff. We are seeing the rewards of four years’ work.
The chef …
We have a well-established fruit and vegetable plot. The chef, Frances de la Cruz regularly harvests fresh produce to serve to patients – salad crops, beans and tomatoes. Fruit crumbles are very popular. At the end of the season he meets with Robin Elliott to decide what crops are most needed. Recently ginger and lemongrass were successfully added to the selection.
We work closely with “Chrissie”, Christine Stockwell, Creative Therapist who is constantly encouraging and inspiring us. She is passionate about giving patients the best possible experience of hospital encouraging them to get out into the garden or greenhouse to help their recovery. Several members of St Nics regularly visit patients and Sandra Reeves uses her specialist skills to help the Friday exercise class, providing valuable support.
A new initiative …
This year members of the gardening team came together with OTs and Physios for horticultural therapy training with Thrive, a leading provided in this field. The staff have compiled a “Wish List” for 2018 to enable more patients to use the garden. We will be working with them to deliver this.
A new garden …
We are also working with Newbury Cancer Care Trust, the Hospital League of Friends and Marks & Spencer to create a new “Rainbow Garden” transforming the view from two of the hospital’s suites.
Testimonials from the volunteers at the WBCH Therapy Garden
We dig, we plant, we water and prune,
We laugh, we smile, we're busy 'til noon.
Then time for a break, coffee or tea.
A good ol' chatter, it's so stress-free!
A final flurry, we compost the weeds,
We harvest the veg and sow some seeds.
Our work is done, we've reached our goals,
A beautiful garden and happy souls.
Volunteering for the Hospital Therapy Garden has been a joy... come rain or shine, to spend a Monday morning surrounded by beautiful plants and in the company of such a friendly bunch of volunteers and staff is a true blessing. What a wonderful and uplifting way to start each week!
All our work has been acknowledged with great warmth and heartfelt appreciation by those who take time to stroll through or sit awhile amongst the dazzlingly displays. Knowing that the upkeep of the garden brings the patients, their visitors and the staff such pleasure cannot fail to lift our spirits and make us smile. It is such a privilege to be part of this worthwhile project. Thanks to all who had the passion and vision to make it a reality.
Following my retirement in 2013 I was approached by an old friend, Viv Staunton, who said “you like gardening, don’t you”? I agreed and so joined her team of volunteers in this amazing project. I was unaware of the enormous garden which had become overgrown and sadly neglected. Having only a small garden of my own it has given me a focus and a great chance to indulge my hobby at no personal expense! It’s been great to make new friends in such a lovely team who are glad to share their knowledge. The staff, patients and their families are delighted with the results which make all our efforts worthwhile. Apart from the regular maintenance, there are still interesting projects to tackle so please do join our “happy band” in this rewarding venture.
Please join us
St Nicolas is responsible for providing volunteers, predominantly from our congregation, to care for the garden and to assist hospital staff with patient therapy. We need people to offer occasional help in spring, to prepare, and in autumn, to clear, and others to come perhaps once a week for an hour through the growing season, weeding, planting and watering. Those helping with patients will be specially trained and cleared and may spend half a day a week in this role.
Charity Coffee Mornings
Each Thursday Morning in St Nic’s Hall we provide an opportunity for a charity to run a Coffee Morning to raise some funds for itself and awareness of what it does. There is a regular clientele, who get modestly priced refreshments, including home-made cakes, and a chance to browse the Bric-a-Brac Stall and pick up a bargain.
St Nic’s provides the host to interface with the charity and a back-up team should a charity be unable to run the morning.
Why not join us?