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Staff at Charlton Lane Hospital’s Mulberry Ward are celebrating after being given two awards in the recent Cheltenham in Bloom competition. 

Mulberry Ward was judged in the “Community Category”, where they were awarded the standard of gold, and they were delighted to also be given a second award for “outstanding achievement”. This award recognised the work that had been done to make the gardens an enjoyable and beneficial space for patients. 

Charlton Lane Hospital provides specialist assessment, treatment and care for older people with functional mental health problems and dementia. Staff have found the garden to be an integral part of supporting recovery for patients. 

Ward Manager Gemma Hayward explained: “We entered the competition after we recognised the positive impact of gardening on the recovery of our patients. We saw how it enhanced people’s mood, helped with physical activity and gave focus and distraction while people were experiencing distress with their mental health. 

“The Mulberry Ward garden started as a blank canvas and, through hard work, dedication and commitment, it became a haven of colour, activity and relaxation. 

“We involve everyone in regular gardening groups, including not only patients, but their relatives and staff. Particular thanks go to Hayley Brett and Georgina Reynolds, two staff members who hold the monthly patient gardening group. They have worked especially hard in making this happen.” 

The garden includes a sensory herb area, a butterfly corner, a step back in time section, magic fairy door and flowerpot men. 

The judges said that “the dedication of the staff towards ensuring the patients were involved in the garden, supporting their recovery, was amazing, and they all worked really hard to achieve this.” 

At the ceremony there were lots of other people who had entered for their personal and commercial properties. Mulberry Ward were judged in the ‘Community Category’ and received the standard of ‘Gold’ award for the garden, the judges said that ‘the dedication of the staff towards ensuring the patients were involved in the garden supporting their recovery was amazing and they all worked really hard to achieve this’. To our surprise we then received a second  award which was the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ for the recognition of what had been achieved by Mulberry Ward for all of their efforts in making this a wonderful space for patients. 

Gemma added: “We’re absolutely delighted with these awards and they are testament to the hard work of all who have been involved in the gardening project. We will continue to maintain and develop the gardens so they carry on delivering therapeutic benefits and pleasure to patients and everyone who uses them.”