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Volunteers create Olympics-style meadow for people with dementia in Lowestoft

​A group of volunteers based in Lowestoft have created a beautiful meadow as part of a hospital garden aimed at people living with dementia.

It has blossomed into a blaze of colour just as preparations are being made for the British meadow themed Olympic opening ceremony.

The garden - which is at Carlton Court Hospital near Lowestoft - is part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and its maintenance is supported by volunteers whose imaginations were captured by the project.

“Together we have created a lovely environment for a vulnerable and isolated group of people,” said Pauline Elliott, long-term volunteer and Trust governor. “I have to admit I was dragged into this project – gardening wasn’t something I had a huge interest in - but looking at the blaze of colour that it is at the moment makes it all worthwhile.”

The creation of what is called a ‘lifetime garden’ was started five years ago by staff nurse Julie Kerton. The aim was to develop an environment that stimulates memories from people’s pasts, a key exercise for dementia sufferers.

“We also wanted to give the family and friends of the patients a chance to get practically involved with something here at the hospital,” Pauline added. “The garden, and especially our Olympic-style meadow, has improved the environment for visitors and encouraged people from the local community to donate their time and money to developing the land.”

The initiative allows patients the opportunity to enjoy working in the garden alongside friends, family and staff. Members of the local community are also urged to get involved in maintaining the meadow and other areas of the beautiful garden by joining the voluntary group.

Pene Kenrick-Ward, voluntary services manager for the Trust, said: “Anyone who has an interest in dementia or other mental health conditions can get involved – no gardening experience is necessary! All we ask for is enthusiasm!”

Anyone interested in volunteering with the Trust can contact Pene on 01603 421580 for an informal chat to find out more.

Donations to the project can be made via the Trust’s charitable funds by contacting 01603 421421. Donations must clearly be marked ‘For the Garden Project at Carlton Court'.