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Local schools volunteer to plant bulbs at Thames Hospice

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

On Saturday 15 October 2022, students from schools in the Thames Valley Learning Partnership (TVLP), including The Windsor Boys’ School, The Windsor Girls’ School and St Joseph’s Catholic High School, joined forces with local charity Nature’s Haven to plant spring flowering bulbs in the gardens at Thames Hospice.

The initiative aims to increase the nectar sources available to bees and other beneficial insects from January to April, with snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils being introduced. The flowers will add a boost of colour to the Hospice gardens, helping to lift the spirits of the patients and their families, staff and visitors.

Thames Hospice is set in eight stunning acres of landscaped gardens, with views overlooking Bray Lake. When planning the building of the charity’s facility, which opened in 2020, the design of the gardens was at the forefront of the development. Patients have direct access to, and views of, the gardens, and can choose to sit outside or if that’s not possible the nurses can move their beds into the gardens.

Graham Stone, Thames Hospice’s Horticultural Ambassador, said: “A huge thank you and well done to all the students who volunteered this weekend. Our gardens are an integral part of the Hospice and the wellbeing of our patients and families.

“Many studies have proven that being close to nature can have a positive impact on our emotional wellbeing, making us feel relaxed, positive and at ease.”

This is the second time the TVLP has partnered with Thames Hospice on a cross-school project. In April (2022), students created four nature-themed sculptures out of willow, which were donated to the Hospice and are on display in the grounds.

TVLP Coordinator, Clare Matheson, said: “I am extremely proud of our students and staff for volunteering their time on a Saturday to help this wonderful charity. Many are very interested in the environment and are keen to help improve local biodiversity habitats. The environment is something we all need to take more care of and our students are leading by example.”

Claire Charalambous & Aleksandra Brown, Co-Founders of Nature's Haven, added: “Gardens really do matter; not only do they connect you to nature but they promote community spirit and a sense of belonging.

“We were delighted for the opportunity to collaborate with the TVLP and enthusiastic students during the bulb planting session at the impressive Thames Hospice gardens. Volunteering for such an inspirational and exceptionally compassionate charity gave us all a sense of purpose and achievement, whilst appreciating the true power of teamwork. Just giving and helping others feels good; we look forward to further projects.”

The UK is home to more than 250 species of bee, including 24 different types of bumblebee. Some species of solitary bee spend the winter as adults protecting themselves from the cold in a process called overwintering. They then emerge in spring to make the most of early blooms. Other species, like the mason bee, spend the winter as pupae and have an annual lifecycle that ends after they lay their eggs in autumn. By providing them with additional flowers, the students will be increasing the nectar food source available to them during this time.

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