Greenfingers Charity to create new kitchen garden for Chestnut Tree House

The Kitchen Garden for the Chestnut Tree House hospice follows on from the 2008 Greenfingers funded Meadow Garden and Woodland Walk designed by Ann-Marie Powell.

Chestnut Tree Hospice West Sussex
credit: Rachel Manns

The area of land earmarked for the new Kitchen Garden is adjacent to a newly developed play-park and sensory garden and is to become a sustainable kitchen garden to provide home-grown fruit and vegetables for both the children and adult hospices.

The project is funded by means of a generous donation from Greenfingers charity Ambassador, Roger Head. Head is the former owner of Forest Lodge Garden Centre and Bird World, has a long family history of vegetable growing. The new garden will be designed by Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer.

Sarah Clifton, Head of Major Gifts, Chestnut Tree House hospice said: “Our vision is a kitchen garden that will provide therapeutic and educational experiences for children and young people with life limiting conditions and their families. By designing the garden to be fully accessible, even for children with complex conditions, we aspire to provide them with the opportunity to engage in the process of growing fruits and vegetables. Research shows that the pandemic has exacerbated mental health challenges stemming from isolation, particularly among families confronted with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions. In response, we firmly believe that the nurturing environment of the garden, coupled with the cathartic act of gardening itself, can help improve our beneficiaries’ mental health.”

Plans for the Kitchen Garden will include a dedicated gardening club tailored to children and young people, a specialised club for parents to bond over horticultural pursuits and meaningful conversations, and targeted efforts involving siblings, fostering their connection with the garden, and providing an opportunity to meet other children who understand what they are experiencing.

A portion of the produce from the garden will be used in the kitchens reinforcing their commitment to self-sufficiency and local sourcing. Incorporating sustainable practices in the kitchen garden will help minimise environmental impact, conserve resources, and teach staff, children, young people and families the significance of sustainable living.

Linda Petrons, Greenfingers’ Director of Fundraising and Communications said: “We are delighted to be working with the team at Chestnut Tree House and are very much looking forward to seeing children and young people, as well as the wider hospice community benefit from what we are sure will be a wonderful new Kitchen Garden. We would especially like to thank Roger for his incredible generosity. All of us at Greenfingers, the hospice and Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer look forward to sharing Roger’s enthusiasm and expertise during the design and build process and his continued support as the Greenfingers Ambassador for this garden long after the garden has come to life.”