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Rainbows Contemplation Garden at Chelsea Flower Show

Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People in Loughborough is opening a contemplation garden during Children’s Hospice Week, 18-25 May at the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.

The ‘Rainbows Children’s Hospice Garden’ will be a place of relaxation and reflection and will be recreated at the East Midlands’ hospice after the show. It will provide a tranquil place to help parents and staff deal with the extremely emotional day-to-day challenges of working and living with life-limited children.

Alison Cooke, Director of Care at Rainbows Hospice says, “We’ve always wanted to create a garden at Chelsea Flower Show, it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of the important, often unseen, work that goes on at a children’s hospice to make it a happy, positive place.”

The Rainbows Garden will highlight the important role of gardens within children’s hospices, offering adults a space in which they can reflect and contemplate. The UK’s network of 50 children’s hospices, whose main charity body is Together for Short Lives, sees gardens as important areas which enable children and families to have positive memorable experiences and gives them an open space to be during traumatic times.

Barbara Gelb, Chief Executive at Together for Short Lives comments, “We are delighted to open the Rainbows Children’s Hospice Garden during Children’s Hospice Week. As the national charity for life limited children, we hope to highlight the importance of gardens within children’s hospices and raise awareness of the support and services children’s hospices provide. All children’s hospices rely on the generosity of the public to fund care for children and families in need.”

With planting help given by BBC Radio Leicester’s gardening expert Ady Dayman, the garden has been created by designer, Chris Gutteridge of Second Nature Gardens. He is now working hard to ensure everything is ready for the show. He says: “The garden itself will be divided up by large sheets of frosted acrylic which allow light and shapes through – creating shadows and silhouettes. Raised walkways will form the entrance, with trees acting as a ceiling to provide a feeling of enclosure and calmness. A gently rippling water feature will sit next to planting and seating.”

The garden will be situated in the ‘Fresh’ area of the show. Fresh is a brand new area that includes modern, inventive gardens and trade stands offering ingenious new products. To this end, an interactive element in the garden will be provided by students from Leicester’s De Montfort University. A webcam will take pictures of people as they approach the entrance, and, using software that identifies a person’s gender and approximate age, appropriate images will be projected onto the acrylic screens.

Visitors to the world famous show will be able to experience the tranquillity of the Rainbows Children’s Hospice Garden from 22-26 May.

All costs for the garden project have been covered by three generous sponsors from within the hospice’s community. Two anonymous donations and a contribution from PR firm, Arch Communications have enabled Rainbows to enter the Show and, more importantly, bring children’s hospice care to the attention of the nation’s press.

There are all sorts of different gardens at the children’s hospices, wind gardens, sensory gardens, contemplation gardens; these locations are therapy for the families. The sensory environments have huge benefits for children with life threatening or life limiting conditions, helping to support interaction, discovery and communication enabling faster learning and development through increased awareness of their surroundings. Reflections gardens provide a quiet and tranquil location for adults to reflect on their daily challenges or to remember a child in happier times.

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Note to editors:

For more information about the Rainbows Hospice Garden at Chelsea Flower Show, Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People or Children’s Hospice Week contact:

Bridget Ballantyne | Communications Officer | E | T 0117 989 7863