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New garden opened for bereaved families

A new garden that will provide a special place for families who experience the loss of a baby has been opened.

The SPRING garden is an area for grieving families – who are staying in the bereavement suites at the St Mary’s maternity unit – where they can come to terms with the loss of a baby and process the decisions to be made.

The idea came from a parent who used the bereavement suites after he lost his daughter.

Paul Steele wanted to give something back by creating a private space for bereaved parents. He is the founder of the Green Project, a Dorset-based landscape company that built the garden in six weeks.

The garden is located just outside the bereavement suites in the maternity unit and was financed by SPRING, a trust fund that supports parents and relatives through baby loss and is part of Poole Hospital Charity.

It was officially opened on Wednesday (3 April) by Emma Johnston, SPRING chairperson and a bereaved parent. “On behalf of SPRING I would like to thank Paul and his team for their patience and hard work in creating this garden which is absolutely beautiful,” said Emma (pictured below, watering one of the new plants in the garden).

Emma Johnston Spring garden opening


"I’m sure it will be a special sanctuary for the families that are staying in the SPRING bereavement suites, saying hello and goodbye to their baby.

“The new garden is a place between the cocoon of the bereavement suites where time stands still, and the reality of the outside world where life still goes on.

“This garden is another example of the importance Poole Hospital places in providing the best possible support, services and facilities for families who experience the death of a baby,” continued Emma.

“What happens here leaves permanent vivid memories and can provide a foundation on which to rebuild the rest of your life.” 

Refreshments including tea and cake were served in a gazebo adjacent to the garden, which is now open for bereaved parents at the maternity unit to use.

Debbie Fleming, chief executive of Poole Hospital and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals, and David Walden CBE, Poole Hospital non-executive director and chair of the hospital’s charitable funds committee, were also in attendance.

Spring garden opening group photo

Emma Johnston cuts the ribbon to officially open the garden

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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