7 July 2021

Restoring Rainbows Hospice Eco Garden

Group of staff in a garden

Over the past year, Rainbows Eco Garden, a wonderful space for the hospice’s children, young people and their families had become overgrown due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting volunteering resource.

Restoring the paths, brightening the paint and tidying the weeds was a very small way to give back to an amazing charity doing profound work in our community. In maintaining this space, the eco garden can now be opened back up, which will enable the families at the hospice to relax, play and spot nature.

Rainbows in Loughborough are the only Hospice in the East Midlands providing vital care and support to children, young people and their families. Since 1994, Rainbows have provided end-of-life care, symptom management, short breaks and respite care. They are also available to support parents and siblings through their bereavements.

Volunteers at the hospice form a wider team and help to bring love, smiles and laughter to those in Rainbows care. Spending a week with Rainbows meant we could be fully involved in a project, witnessing first-hand how our help could make a difference to the Rainbows community.

For the duration of our time spent volunteering, we were focused on restoring the Eco Garden. The Eco Garden is a tranquil place where parents and staff often go to think and reflect. It is also a place where children can explore nature, with its accessible path enabling wheelchair access.

Garden paths

This garden is loved by visitors, and its beauty comes from the wildflowers that provide sustenance for birds, bees and butterflies. With the pandemic restricting the usual volunteering work that would take place to maintain the garden’s beauty, the wildflowers had become overgrown, weeds had begun to grow out into the paths, and paint on sheds and outdoor furniture had faded.

Several of the jobs we worked on in the Eco Garden were focused on refreshing and restoring; furniture had to be sanded down and repainted, and weeds removed. Working as a team, we took on a handful of jobs each day, and we’re really impressed by the outcome.

Volunteering as a team provided us with renewed creativity, motivation and vision, all of which we can carry over into our personal and professional lives. Being given the chance to build connections with our local communities and strengthen our interpersonal relationships has provided us with a whole new way of nurturing key soft skills in areas such as coaching, leadership and organisational abilities.

Despite not being able to go inside the hospice and see first-hand the brilliant staff, resources and care that are at the heart of Rainbows,  the way we were looked after during our week volunteering, and a virtual tour showed to us by Emily Wright, Rainbows’ Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser, showed us the many ways that Rainbows brighten the short lives of the children and young people who visit them in Loughborough.

Garden bench and shed

It is evident that Rainbows take a huge role in encouraging children and young people to have fun and make special memories while in their care, with siblings and families able to be involved and be encouraged form relationships with others in the Rainbows community.

One to one support is given to siblings of those in Rainbows care by a dedicated Sibling Support Worker, who spends time with a sibling to help them explore their feelings in whichever way is comfortable for them. This is incredibly valuable to the families, as often these siblings are confused and may have not met others in a similar situation. Through this support, brothers, and sisters of those in Rainbows’ care are able to obtain information and share experiences, providing opportunities for them to speak to others who will understand their situation and the problems they face.

Donations and the work of volunteers is so important to the success of Rainbows Hospice. Only 15% of the funding Rainbows receives is from the government. This means that the remaining amount is reliant upon donations. Rainbows needs to raise £6 million a year to support the facilities and continue to help children and young people.

If you would like to find out more about the great work that Rainbows do, in and around the East Midlands area, please check out their website. Every £1 donated or 1 hour spent volunteering makes a huge difference.

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MHR's graduate interns

MHR's team of graduate interns

Alex, Kate, Aleksandra, and Emily are all interns on MHR's graduate scheme.

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