Service users and staff on Laurel Ward at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust's Callington Road Hospital have created their own mini seaside resort in their garden. Laurel Ward assesses and treats service users with dementia who are suffering from severe psychological and behaviour symptoms.
The project grew from the idea of brightening the garden up by painting the shed like a beach hut. But it was not just for fun, as the area is actually 'sensory', giving service users sights, textures and memories to respond to, with happy memories of holidays by the seaside, day trips to Weston, donkey rides on the beach, making sand-castles, ice-cream and more.
Three of the service users carried out the majority of the paint-work over the summer. The whole project was co-ordinated by Laurel Ward's Activity Co-ordinator Kate Croker, with help and support from Occupational Therapy staff, and Kate's husband who helped create the beach area.
The new 'seaside attraction' can be seen from inside the ward or, when weather is permitting, service users and their families are able to spend time enjoying their seaside in the city.