Charing Cross Hospital Opens Sanctuary Garden

'Space of beauty' for those bereaved launched by former patient Nicki Chapman

Nikki Chapman at the opening of the gande


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June 16, 2023

TV presenter and radio broadcaster Nicki Chapman joined other former patients and NHS staff at Charing Cross Hospital in Fulham Palace Road to open its new Sanctuary Garden – a quiet, peaceful space for friends, family and visitors who have suffered a bereavement.

Nicki, who lives in Chsiwick and was treated for a brain tumour at Charing Cross in 2019, visited the garden on 6 June and planted a white Deutzia gracilis (Japanese Snow Flower) to mark the official opening.

“I will forever be indebted to the incredible team – in particular my surgeon, Mr David Peterson – who looked after me throughout an extremely challenging time,” Nicki said.

“I’m delighted to return to the hospital to open this beautiful new garden, which I’m sure will be of huge benefit to many more families in the future.”

The Sanctuary Garden was designed by Dario Pizzi Design, with additional support from Gardencraft and Allgreen. It has transformed a previously neglected outdoor area, and the hospital says it will become a peaceful and reflective space for family members and friends to grieve privately following the loss of a loved one.

“We hope the garden will be a space of beauty that visitors will connect with memories of their loved ones,” said Dario Pizzi’s Beth Button. “Our hope is that we can bring some small comfort in the very darkest of moments.”

As well as providing a tranquil outdoor space for anyone experiencing grief and sadness, the garden will offer hard-working staff a place to switch off from the pressures of work.

Funded by Imperial Health Charity, the sanctuary garden is the latest in a series of improvements to green spaces at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s hospitals. The charity also created a garden for dementia patients at Charing Cross to mark its 200th anniversary in 2018 and refurbished a terrace next to the neonatal unit at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital in Du Cane Road in Shepherd’s Bush earlier this year.

The new 'space of beauty' for the bereaved at Charing Cross Hospital

The trust says that creating warm and welcoming outdoor spaces like the Sanctuary Garden will also help to improve the care provided by its specialist bereavement support teams.

“Working with Imperial Health Charity gives us the chance to unlock opportunities to provide even better care that would not otherwise be possible,” said Dr Bob Klaber OBE, Director of Strategy, Research and Innovation at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

“The garden is a fantastic example of that collaboration in practice and I know it will have an enormous impact in terms of the care our bereavement support team can provide for friends and relatives in the difficult moments after the loss of a loved one.”

You can find out more about the work of the Imperial Health Charity and how you can get involved, for instance by helping with fundraising or volunteering, on its web site.

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