A REMEMBRANCE garden for those living with dementia at Warrington Hospital’s Forget Me Not Unit has received the top accolade the RHS Britain in Bloom Neighbourhood Scheme.

The Forget Me Not unit is a bespoke unit providing acute care for those living with dementia.

The unit opened in 2013 and the creation of a dedicated remembrance garden was the vision of consultant geriatrician doctor Barton, since retired. Warrington & Halton Hospitals Charity, took up the challenge and, coinciding with the unit’s fifth birthday, phase two of the garden was finally completed.

The Forget Me Not unit was designed to lead the way in best practice in dementia care and has created a relaxed environment to minimise patient distress which can often be exacerbated when entering a new environment. The clinical feel of the unit has been minimised and all the elements have been designed to provide the most supportive environment for psychological wellbeing and go far beyond that prescribed to create a very different healing environment.

The remembrance garden opens directly from the specialist unit and provides a relaxing environment with group seating, sheltered areas and relaxing sights, smells and sounds enhance and stimulate the patient experience.

Volunteers have tended the green space since it was originally created.

It was later extended with phase two works that were made possible by the generosity of corporate and community supporters who rallied to complete the garden with donations of materials, time and expertise totalling more than £50,000.

In making the Outstanding Award, the RHS Britain in Bloom judges wrote: 'This garden is a special place, well planned and constructed with a wide variety of plants. This is supplemented with good garden furniture providing a restful and tranquil area for patients and visitors alike.

'The garden was litter free and well maintained with water conservation in evidence plus solar lights to provide a restful ambience at night. We also noted that dogs were allowed in to help in the calming effect for the patients. An excellent project – well done'.

Pat McLaren, director of community engagement and fundraising said: “RHS Britain in Bloom is the largest horticultural campaign in the UK with more than 1600 communities entering the awards each year.

"To receive an Outstanding award in our first year of entering is testament to the vision, hard work and generosity of both time and spirit by our corporate partners and volunteers.

"The gardens will be enjoyed for many patients and their families for years to come and we remain indebted to all who gave their time and effort to make this vision a reality.”