The Uffculme Garden Caring Minds Covid-19 Memorial Orchard

Friday 26th June marked the official opening of the Caring Minds Memorial Orchard at the Uffculme Centre near to Kings Heath. We joined people from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) at a moving event to remember all those lost over the last 18 monthsincluding staff members, service users, carers and family members. This event allowed us all to reflect and remember, whilst being emerged in a peaceful green oasis. 

 

We are honored to have been a part of this work, made with help from colleagues, Caring Minds , and Active Communities, and received thanks for our work from BSMFHT Chair Danielle Oum.  

 

At the opening of the quiet reflective space, a number of those involved spoke about the role of the garden in supporting wellbeing. Matt Thomas, a Matron from Reaside at BSMHFT explained how important this garden is to the Trust:

“This garden is a wonderful way to remember those who dedicated their lives to looking after patients. It’s been a difficult year, almost 18 months ago we went into lockdown, and we’ve been through multiple waves. It’s been hard for patients and staff and has really tested our resilience, skills and emotions more than we ever anticipated it would. It’s demonstrated we’ve got a really skilled bunch of staff and it has pushed us all and made us rely on each other more than ever. This space will give us room to reflect and care for ourselves as we continue to care for others.” 

 

Carol Wilson from BSMHFT’s Spiritual Care Chaplaincy, also touched on the important benefits nature has on our physical and mental wellbeing: 

“Nature isn’t perfect, it’s untidy and unpredictable like life but being grounded in nature allows us to heal. That’s why it’s important for us all to have a space like this”. 

 

Rowan Wigg a Clinical Psychologist at BSMHFT, who came up with the initial idea for the garden, reflected on the event:

You’ve really captured what I envisaged for the Memorial Garden. This event has triggered more empowering work. During the continuation of the pandemic, it will be lovely to see it grow”. 

Mollie Owen
Author: Mollie Owen