Greenfingers ‘Nest & Rest’ garden opens at Grace House, Sunderland

Greenfingers ‘Nest & Rest’ garden opens at Grace House, Sunderland

A new Greenfingers Charity therapeutic garden at Grace House, Sunderland was officially opened by the Mayor of Sunderland on Monday 21st October.  This inspiring new space will provide a peaceful place for relaxation and enjoyment for the seriously ill children and their families that call Grace House ‘home’.


The Nest and Rest Garden -– Greenfingers 58th garden project to be completed – was designed and created by Sean Murray, who most famously won the BBC’s Great Chelsea Garden Challenge in 2015.  Working alongside Sean was landscaper Keith Ball. Together Sean and Keith have transformed a previously blank space into a stunning garden that provides a range of sensory experiences, complemented by sweeping paths that provide a journey through the landscape, and spots of colour that brighten even the darkest days.

The Grace House design focuses on bringing more wildlife into the garden, with pollinator-friendly plants taking centre stage, providing a splash of colour and gorgeous fragrances throughout the space. A special ‘nest’ has been created by grouping tree trunks together, which provides a secluded spot to sit and relax, or as a hub for play and group activities. Elsewhere, an interactive water feature and additional sheltered areas provide a choice of places to stop for a moment, whilst the fun brightly-coloured fences add a touch of playfulness to the space. Together all these elements create an invaluable outside space for respite and relaxation, as well as stimulating features that can be used for therapies and reflection. Take a look at the garden as it was being built here

At the garden opening Sean said: “It has been a great honour and privilege to have designed a Greenfingers Charity garden. Having previously worked in the NHS and seeing the powerful difference a well-designed outside space can make; whether it’s overcoming access issues or having a private space to escape the reality of what’s going on inside the building, I hope that this new garden provides a special place for all those who spend time at Grace House to enjoy.”

Victoria Brown, CEO Grace House said: “We would like to thank Greenfingers Charity, Sean and their supporters for the effort, patience and kindness they have shown Grace House.  This stunning garden is now a wonderful space in which the young people, children and families who spend time a Grace will be able to enjoy for many years to come.”

As with all Greenfingers gardens, the Grace House project would not have been possible without the generosity of the charity’s benefactors.  As well as donations from grant-making trusts, local businesses have also been kind enough to dig deep, with Cowell’s Garden Centre and Johnsons of Whixley supporting the project. Elsewhere, funds were raised during the charity’s annual Garden Re-Leaf Day event, Rolawn, the ongoing fundraising and volunteering efforts of the endlessly enthusiastic Kew Green Hotels team and many other friends of Greenfingers Charity. 

Linda Petrons, Greenfingers’ Director of Fundraising & Communications said: “Our sincerest thanks to Sean, his team and all the people that have helped to make the Grace House ‘Nest and Rest’ garden a reality. The garden space has been completely transformed, and now offers a safe and peaceful place to spend time; perfect for the children who use the facilities, as well as their families and even the Grace House staff. The garden is a perfect demonstration of how careful design and considered thinking can come together to create a space that offers a true retreat away from it all. I know for sure that this garden will be enjoyed for many years to come and will become an important backdrop for memories to be created.”

If you're a children's hospice and would like to find out more about Greenfingers Charity and how we can help you, please do get in touch with us – find out more here

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