Garden dream grows towards reality

Steve Schollar in the garden as it begins to take shape

Steve Schollar in the garden as it begins to take shape

First published in Help for Heroes Garden Project by

A GARDEN which will provide a sanctuary for injured soldiers and their families is taking shape.

The Heroes Garden Project aims to transform an area of land behind Chavasse VC House recovery centre in Colchester into a peaceful garden which also has places for activities and socialising.

It will be vital in the journey of recovery for wounded service personnel who have suffered injury and trauma on the front line.

The £100,000 appeal is being led by the military charity Help for Heroes and is supported by the Gazette And after just three months, donations and gift in kind have reached an astonishing £93,000.

Work has now started in earnest on the garden, the hard landscaping has been completed and the paving for sensory garden laid.

The centrepiece of the area will be the Hope on the Horizon garden which won the People's Choice Award at the Chelsea Flower Show.

It is hoped the project will completed by the end of next month.

For Steve Schollar, recovery centre manager, it is the fruition of two years of hope, work and expectation.

He said: "When I think back to my initial meeting with Matt Keightley, the garden designer for Farr and Roberts, I could only imagine how the garden would look as it was only a concept at that stage.

"But today, standing amongst the trees and granite blocks which symbolise our wounded through the various stages of their recovery, I have to remind myself of just how far we’ve come and of the incredible potential the garden has as a key element of our recovery programme.”

The space is unrecognisable from when work started in June.

Mature trees and yew hedges have been planted to offer privacy within the show garden, a place for the blokes - the men and women of the armed forces - to reflect and focus on their futures.

The paving for the sensory garden has been laid with utmost precision to accommodate the different access needs of the injured personnel.

Steve said: “The entire design is centred on recovery.

“We accommodate and support serving personnel, veterans and families here with such varied needs and complex issues, from wheelchair users and those with prosthetics to those coping with hidden scars. It’s designed for a purpose; to help our wounded, injured and sick.

“It’s important to remember even though the war is coming to an end, their battles are only just beginning.”

The garden project is reaching its final stages where the different plants will be bedded in including sensory herbs and calming water features.

Once completed, a grand opening is due to be held followed by a series of planned open days for the supporters who have so generously donated money or gifts in kind.

If you would you like to support the Heroes Garden Project you can donate online by visiting www.bmycharity.com/chavasse or send a cheque (made payable to Help for Heroes) to Chavasse VC House, Berechurch Road, Colchester, Essex, CO2 9RQ.

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