The Rowley Regis Hospital garden received a refresh thanks to students from Westminster School and a volunteering programme between DIY store Wickes and social enterprise VIY (Volunteer It Yourself)

Fifteen pupils from Westminster School, which caters for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), spent a day renovating the garden at the hospital.

The activity forms part of a long-term partnership, which will see the students work on future projects at the hospital.

Over the duration of one day, the students built two planters for the garden – designed for dementia patients – and painted the existing furniture blue; which has been shown to aid dementia patients through its calming effect.

The students were helped with this project by lead VIY mentors Imran Younas and Sajid Mahmood.

The project was supported by the local Wickes store in Halesowen, which donated all the tools and materials required, together with covering the cost of professional tradespeople to act as mentors on the ground.

The management team from the store also visited the garden on the day to meet the volunteers and see the finished work.

Mr Younas said: “Working with these students on such a worthwhile project to help those suffering with dementia has been fantastic.

“This is the first in a line of projects between Westminster School and Rowley Regis Hospital which we’re sure will continue to enrich the lives of the patients here. Plus, the students from the school have learnt skills they will be able to use in the future.”

Edward Edmead, who works at the hospital, said: “On behalf of the staff and patients at Rowley Regis Hospital, Amanda Winwood (SWBH, Your Trust charity membership manager), the young people and the staff from Westminster Special School, and Roy (ground control), we’d like to express our appreciation for the support, donated materials, and volunteers from VIY and Wickes.

“Our Dementia Friendly Garden project is still in its infancy and is very much dependent on the goodwill and commitments of local volunteers to support the dedicated team of hospital staff. “Westminster School and Your Trust Charity will oversee the progressions and development of the project over the next 12 months.”

“We’re hoping that the gardens will be brought to life to reflect the changing seasons for the benefit of our elderly patients, many of whom are severely ill with dementia.”