Haven House patron and Loughton-based actress, Vicki Michelle MBE, has opened a new sensory garden in the grounds of the hospice.

Vicki, who recently took part in ITV1’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, cut the ribbon to officially open the new outdoor space.

The garden, which is wheelchair accessible and designed to appeal to all five senses, will be a dedicated outside space for Haven House children, families and staff to enjoy. It is hoped that it will be of particular benefit to families who are using the hospice’s accommodation facility during end-of-life and post-bereavement care.

The garden will also provide a haven for local wildlife; plants have been chosen to attract bees, butterflies and other insects and later in the year, it will have a bee meadow and insect house.

Engineering firm, Laing O’ Rourke with project partner, Crossrail, funded and built the space, with design input from hospice staff, in what was previously an unused part of the grounds. Many other companies gave their time and gifts in kind to help to fund the project.

Speaking about the opening; Vicki Michelle explained; ‘As a patron of Haven House, I was so pleased to be asked to open the sensory garden; it really is a wonderful, tranquil space for local children and families to enjoy.’

Mike Palfreman, Chief Executive of the Woodford Green hospice added ‘The sensory garden is a brilliant example of the holistic care we offer ; Haven House is not just about clinical services, it’s also about providing a warm, welcoming and therapeutic space for local life-limited children and families.’

He continues: ‘A big thank you to Laing O’ Rourke, the volunteers who helped with the build and those companies who supported the project.’

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