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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Give your views on sensory garden plans

Give your views on sensory garden plans

Posted on Wednesday 28th October 2015

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is asking patients, visitors and staff to give their views on plans for a new sensory garden at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

Earlier this year people were asked to submit their ideas for turning the ‘quiet garden’ near the front of the hospital into a vibrant, uplifting sensory garden. The garden had become overgrown and neglected over the years, so a group of staff and volunteers from the hospital decided to restore and improve this space to create an attractive, useable sanctuary for patients, visitors and staff.

Some of the best ideas submitted are on display in the art gallery just inside the hospital’s main entrance, with a comment book for people to say which they like best.

Mr Paul Counter, consultant ENT surgeon, is chair of the Trust’s Evidence Based Design Group, which was set up in 2014 to create the very best environmental design and art work at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital.

Mr Counter said: “It is now known that interacting with and seeing nature when patients are ill can have very positive benefits on health and wellbeing. In addition, a garden is a great place to take five minutes out of a hectic schedule for staff and a place to reflect when a patient or their family is ill. We also plan for it to have an interactive element for children such as a scavenger hunt to keep them entertained if they or their families have to be at the hospital.”

The EBD group, together with Interserve Facilities Management, which runs the Estates provision at the Cumberland Infirmary, raised more than £7,500 towards funding the garden project with a charity golf day last year. Some work has been carried out already, including widening access paths, building a wheelchair accessible patio and picnic table area and also significant pruning of overgrown bushes. The plan now is to focus on the finishing touches and to incorporate as many of the ideas as possible from all prospective users.

Patients, staff and visitors are encouraged to look at the show in the gallery and then feedback ideas via the visitors’ comments book in the gallery itself. Volunteers will also be chatting to patients, relatives, visitors and staff over the next few weeks in order to get people’s ideas and feedback.

If you have any ideas about the garden or would like to volunteer in any capacity, please email