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16 October 2014

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Giving Back

By Jackie Hoey
September 2005, Gwent
A digital story from Capture Wales

The Gift of the Garden

Jackie enjoys the benefits a sensory garden brings to the people of Ysbyty'r Tri Chwm.

"In 2001, my husband Paddy was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He was 55 years of age. It was devastating news for me and the family, and it took along time for us to come to terms with it.

This was when I first came to know of Ysbyty'r Tri Chwm in Ebbw Vale. Paddy attended Oak Parc - their daycare facility twice a week. This was a great help to him, as it kept his mind stimulated, and he could get involved with everything going on, such as painting, exercise, music and gardening.

As Paddy deteriorated, he moved into Cedar Parc, the residential part of Ysbyty'r Tri Chwm. The Sensory Garden had already been established by volunteers and carers, which was enormously helpful to the patients. It has many different features, including different coloured plants, raised beds, water feature, different fragrances and seating areas.

Paddy used to look forward to his daily walks around the garden. It was during this time that we started to raise funds for the two other gardens in the hospital. Before we could start creating the gardens, we had to clear them. I helped get rid of the deep-rooted bushes - that was hard work. Then there was fundraising to be done, raffles, Chinese auctions, bingo nights, marathon sponsors, collection buckets in the supermarket, make-up party, boot sales; you name it, we've done it!

And now our sensory garden is finished, and it's full steam ahead on the final garden, where patients will be able to enjoy the flowers with their different colours and smells. The wildlife that will hopefully be attracted by the garden, and the peace and tranquillity it will give them.

Paddy passed away a few months ago, but I want to be able to give back for the help and support I received over the years, by supporting the hospital and other carers in any way that I can. So there'll be a few more bingo nights to come."

Jackie Hoey

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a widow with two children and three grandchildren. I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, doing jigsaws and crosswords.

What is your story about?
It's about helping to create an environment for people with health problems so that they can enjoy life a bit more. My husband had Alzheimers and he had the opportunity to enjoy the safe environment of the garden in Cedar Park at Ysbyty'r Tri Chwm. I decided to get involved with the creation of the other two gardens at the hospital so that other patients and carers could benefit the same enjoyment.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
I got to meet some very nice, friendly people. I had never used a computer before but I believed I managed to do quite a bit of making of the film. It was a very rewarding experience and I am very glad I participated.

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