A public area at Darlington Memorial Hospital has been
transformed into a sensory garden, thanks to a childhood memory
that never left a local young man.
Callum Crowther, now 17, recalls visiting a relative in the
hospital when he was younger and noticing the grassed area, which
had some seating. "It struck me that with a bit of work and
investment, the space could be turned into a garden, creating a
peaceful place for patients, visitors and staff - a kind of
haven. When I joined Safe in Tees Valley's NCS (National
Citizen Service), last year, I realised my dream could become a
"I particularly liked the idea of a sensory garden because
patients with dementia, who struggle with so much of everyday life,
can still get pleasure from sights, smells, sounds, etc."
Callum shared his vision with Nathan Mitchell (18), who he met
through NCS, and they approached County Durham and Darlington NHS
Foundation Trust, with their plans, before successfully applying
for £1,000 of funding from UK Youth's Starbucks Youth Action
Associate Director of Facilities at County Durham and Darlington
NHS Foundation Trust, Stuart Wray, said, "Callum and Nathan are
very impressive young men: coming up with the plans
themselves, securing funding, then getting together a team of
volunteers to make their dream a reality. We are very
grateful to them for creating a lovely, peaceful area which
everyone can enjoy.
"Callum and Nathan have devoted sections of the garden to each
of the senses, bringing the whole area to life. Colourful
plants will flower throughout the summer and wonderful smells will
waft from lavender and lemon conifers. Established trees,
will provide shaded areas and their branches will be decorated with
"We recognise that attending hospital either as a patient or
visitor can be stressful. Having tests and treatment, waiting
for a diagnosis or visiting a loved one who is sick can all be
difficult and we hope the garden offers a respite from
"We will, of course, maintain the garden and continue to develop
it as it becomes established."
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community