Cancer Care Centre Healing Garden, York Hospital
In my role as the Manager of the Cancer Care Centre here at York Hospital, I have worked with Sue over the last couple of years in our quest to create a beautiful space within a public building. We hoped very much to inspire relaxation, privacy and respect for the users of this area, through creative planting and beautiful seating. Sue and I worked together as part of a small team to ensure that this was vision was made possible on the York Hospital site. This team encompassed capital planning, arts, finance and department management.
Sue was to create a tranquil area, a place of contemplation and relaxation for those affected by cancer to spend time together as a family or equally on ones own. The location we chose backed onto two hospital departments and was currently wasteland with multiple utilities within. There were a multitude of technical and logistical hurdles to jump over before we could even start to plan the work – however, Sue's enthusiasm never waned.
We worked up a tight brief to create a beautiful walkway adjacent to the peaceful courtyard garden. The walkway was a desolate area crying out for attention - our joint vision was to make welcoming space that people felt was respectful of their needs at a difficult time – we wanted to bring a little of the inside, outside too.
So, our aim was clear and was straightaway understood by all of the core team, this was very much upheld by Sue throughout the planning phase. Her experience and professionalism was second to none and I felt, we, as a team, definitely learned a lot from her. It was a constant pleasure to work with and her attention to detail is something that will remain one of the real strengths of this project. We worked with externally contracted colleagues ranging from designers, artists, landscapers and the wider hospital team. Sue was punctual and reliable on all occasions, she communicates well with all members of the development team including patients and their families who are now using this space.
So, after a long development phase, work is now completed and Sue continues to work along side us at the Cancer Care Centre with a team of volunteers – who share her passion for gardening and for keeping our space perfect – as we all intended.
Quite unlike any of the other gardens that I have written about, this charitably-funded courtyard is a public space at York Hospital. Designed to give respite to cancer patients, their families, friends and carers the space and the needs of its users threw up quite a lot of challenges (keeping bees to a minimum while providing colour throughout the year, providing easy access for all with handrails, a ramp etc., creating a natural-seeming garden within a hard red-bricked small enclosure…) but I think the consensus is that the garden is a success and I am very pleased to have created such a useful space. Read more about it here.