A medical centre in Milton Keynes is seeking inspiration from college students as it launches a competition to design a holistic garden.
Linford Wood Medical Centre, which opened at the end of last year, has joined forces with Moulton College to task students with creating plans that draw on the ethos of the centre and provide a calm and relaxing space for patients and their visitors.
In addition to providing a range of diagnostic and outpatient procedures, the centre offers an integrated oncology unit providing non-surgical cancer treatments including advanced image guided radiotherapy. The garden is adjacent to the chemotherapy unit which will be opened later this year.
Design of the centre was carefully and thoughtfully designed with patients in mind.
The medical centre’s manager, Stuart Southgate, said: “We wanted to create an environment which offered high tech and advanced treatments, but in a calm, environment.
“Patients want to have convenient access to treatment in a comfortable environment that doesn’t constantly remind them they are ill, but inspires a feeling of wellness. We want to extend this holistic approach beyond the building too, and decided to enlist the help of local horticulture and garden design students to come up with a plan for the garden.”
Linford Wood Medical Centre’s oncology patients have access to its Living Well suite which is run by Penny Brohn Cancer Care, a charity which uses a combination of physical, emotional and spiritual support to help people to ‘live well’ with cancer. Stuart added: “Penny Brohn’s national centre in Bristol has fantastic organic, sensory gardens which the students could seek inspiration from.”
Senior horticultural lecturer at Moulton College, Adrian Stockdale, said: “We were thrilled to get involved and enable our students to work with a real brief rather than just hypothetical ones. The garden area can be seen from various areas within the centre, and these viewpoints need to be considered. Combined with taking into account the needs of cancer patients makes this a challenging and very interesting project, and has got the students thinking outside of the box.”
Some of the students attended a site visit where they took measurements, pictures and gained an understanding of the centre’s ethos and its patients’ needs.
Robert Stratford, a first year student who lives in Fenny Stratford, said: “This is an exciting and interesting project. It is nice to bring health ideas into a garden design, which opens up all kinds of opportunities.”
Georgina Kirkpatrick, from Grange Farm, who is in her second year, added: “Personally, I see this garden as being an extension from the chemotherapy unit – and will do my best to bring the warmth, space and curvaceous interior into the garden space. It’ll be interesting to investigate plants that will offer the right colour and possibly even calming qualities.”
The judging panel will include representatives from Linford Wood Medical Centre, Cancer Partners UK which runs the centre, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, and Thomas Redding Garden Services in Newport Pagnell. The winning student will receive VIP tickets to attend the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July.