Gardening therapy yields results for brain injury patients in south Warwickshire

Peter Crane, a patient at the Central England Rehabilitation Unit in Warwick Gates, taking part in gardening activities.

Peter Crane, a patient at the Central England Rehabilitation Unit in Warwick Gates, taking part in gardening activities.

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As spring arrives, patients with acquired brain injuries being cared for at a hospital near Leamington are getting involved in gardening to help with their rehabilitation.

The occupational therapy team at the Central England Rehabilitation Unit (CERU) in Warwick Gates have introduced a gardening group for patients, now that the hospital’s gardens have been spruced up during recent redevelopment works.

Once a week the group meets to do various gardening activities, which specialists say offer emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual benefits to patients.

Already the patients have planted a large bed with spring bulbs and small raised beds with winter pansies, helped to organise the shed and last summer, the group planted and harvested herbs and tomatoes.

Each patient has his or her own goals to meet their occupational therapy needs - and the gardening group has helped them to achieve some of these, including identifying the correct tools to use, offering assistance to others in the group and increasing their standing tolerance, balance and endurance.

One of CERU’s occupational therapists Susie Fenton said: “It has been a pleasure to be out in the garden with patients.

“Using gardening activities to help develop their skills has proved very beneficial and all of the patients who have taken part in the sessions have really enjoyed them.

“I am pleased that at CERU we can offer patients a relaxing and therapeutic outside environment for these sorts of activities. I look forward to planning more sessions for the gardening group in the future.”

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, last year oversaw a £6.2 million redevelopment at the site, which included an expansion of the unit from 30 beds to 42.

While the building part of the redevelopment has been complete, it is still aiming to raise £235,000 towards improving facilities for patients with brain injuries. Anyone wishing to support this appeal can call the hospital’s fundraising manager on 495321 extension 8049 to discuss fundraising ideas.

Alternatively, people can donate £2, £5 or £10 by texting SWFT11 £2/£5/£10 to 70070 or any amount online at

To find out more about the CERU, visit

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