The gardening group at Trinity has long been a highlight for our outpatients, but it’s become even more special this festive season. One of our Occupational Therapists, Koren, who set up the group, tells us about how she’s been bringing a little bit more Christmas spirit into the lives of some of her patients…

"I started up the gardening group after looking into social and therapeutic horticulture, which uses plants and gardening as a way of improving a person’s physical and mental health. The gardening group has been so popular so far that I decided to do some Christmas themed ones this year. I set up activities where patients could re-pot a Christmas tree and also make Christmas wreaths. It seemed like a nice way to bring them a little bit more Christmas spirit!

Everyone deserves to have the Christmas they want and all the Trinity staff work really hard at this time of year to make sure that happens. For a lot of people, that includes a Christmas tree, but for many of my patients this kind of task can take a lot of effort, and isn’t necessarily a priority at what can be a challenging time.

I wanted to set up an activity that made sure they had that experience this year, and it ended up being a really lovely afternoon full of festive cheer. Many of them said they wouldn’t have been able to set up a Christmas tree without the gardening group, so it was great to know it meant they could have a tree in their home this year.

I used adapted tools and individual instructions to ensure everyone could re-pot their tree in a manageable and enjoyable way. And it’s safe to say, everyone absolutely loved it!

I had originally planned for everyone to simply re-pot their Christmas trees, but before I knew it they were decorating them with ribbon and telling me off for not having cotton wool for them to use as fake snow – I think they’ll be running it themselves next year!

It’s great to see them learning new skills or remembering old ones – most people wouldn’t think about people who’ve been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness learning new skills but we’re here to show that you can, it’s completely possible. One of the patients who attended used to be a gardener, and it really brings out a forgotten side of him when he gets the trowel in his hand.

The gardening group is so rewarding, you can feel the happiness and it’s great to know your intervention has created some Christmas cheer, because that’s what it’s all about, especially at this time of year."

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