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New Blossom Children’s Ward Garden at Craigavon Hospital a welcome retreat for families

The Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley at the official opening of Blossom Children’s Ward Garden with representatives from ABC Council, Portadown Wellness Centre, Seagoe Youth Group and Craigavon Area Hospital staff

The garden at Blossom Children’s Ward in Craigavon Area Hospital has had a wonderful makeover, transforming the area into a safe, calming retreat for families spending time on the ward.

This social action project took place over the summer and saw young people weeding flower beds, painting fences, laying bark, planting shrubs, plants and trees and staining garden furniture – creating a peaceful, quiet haven where families can take time out of the hospital and catch their breath.

The project created a unique opportunity for young people to work on something that would make a positive impact on others in the community, while also acting as a diversionary activity.

The programme also provided participants with an insight into horticulture and helped develop some new skills in this field.

Lord Mayor of ABC Council Alderman Margaret Tinsley, who officially opened the new garden, said it was an “absolute honour” to see the transformation that has taken place.

She commented: “Being in hospital with a child is such a stressful and worrying time, so to have a place where both the children and their relatives can take time out, gather their thoughts and have some fresh air within natural surroundings is wonderful and will be so beneficial, both physically and mentally.”

The project was led by ABC Council, funded through The Executive Office’s District Councils Good Relations Programme as part of the ‘Together: Building a United Community’ (T:BUC) strategy and in partnership with Portadown Wellness Centre and Seagoe Youth Group.

Staff from Blossom Children’s Ward

Alan McDowell, Founder of Portadown Wellness Centre, said: “The team at Portadown Wellness Centre were delighted to support this project and to help develop and create an amazing gardening and leisure space beside the Blossom unit of Craigavon Area Hospital.

“We really enjoyed working as part of this team to deliver a genuine benefit to the whole community.”

Staff on the Blossom Children’s Ward are also thrilled with the results of project, with Deputy Ward Sister Nicola Ferguson saying: “We are so grateful to the council and all involved for taking on this project.

“They have made such lovely changes to what used to be an average garden space to somewhere we now want to ensure all our patients see and experience.”

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