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9 Jan 2019 Volunteer News

Cummins donation helps Kirkwood Hospice’s ‘Grow Group’ to blossom

Cummins Turbo Technologies donate nine hand-crafted garden planters for use by patients in Kirkwood Hospice’s therapeutic ‘Grow Group’.

Back in the summer of 2018, local Turbo Technologies company, Cummins, created nine beautiful wooden garden planters for use by patients at Kirkwood Hospice.

As part of their “Every Employee, Every Community” Employer Supported Volunteering Scheme, Cummins encourages employees to dedicate a certain number of hours in the year by leveraging their skills and resources towards supporting the community.

As well as creating these nine planters for Kirkwood’s Grow Group, they have also extended their craftsmanship by building another seven planters which are located outside of the Hospice entrance.

The team at Cummins make their donation to Kirkwood Hospice


Ever since then, the planters have been used as part of Kirkwood’s Grow Group - a patient focussed therapy session run through the Support & Therapy department, which aims to get those living with a life limiting illness active, and to rekindle a love of gardening.

The planters offer a variety of ornamental and edible plants all year round, all which possess sensory elements. With herbs to touch, smell and taste, there is something to appeal to a wide range of patients.

From seed sewing to harvesting, patients can dip in and out with a mixture of plants to suit their preferences, as well as see projects through from start to finish.

Grow Group benefits both out-patients attending Support & Therapy sessions, as well as those staying on the In-Patient Unit (IPU). The planters are visible from rooms on the IPU, so patients have great joy seeing the planters in full bloom as they look out of their windows.

The group has already shown great successes throughout 2018, an example being the harvest of tomatoes which were made into a delicious tomato relish and given to patients, as well as sold to raise vital funds.

Richard Melville, a patient attending Support & Therapy, enjoying the use of the planters


The planters also played a big part in the Hospice’s gardens being awarded the Gold Award in last year’s Yorkshire in Bloom competition, which was entered by Kirkwood for the first time.

As well as having obvious horticultural advantages for the Hospice, Grow Group also offers therapeutic benefits to patients living with a life limiting illness, as Occupational Therapist, Elspeth McGloughlin, explains.

She said: “Grow Group recognises that even though our service users may not be able to garden at home, they still enjoy it and can share their skills and experience here at Kirkwood.

“There is a social element to gardening too, as patients often sit in a group and chat. Patients enjoy making it look nice for other patients, as they recognise the service that we provide and want to help others.

“One carer who attended Support & Therapy said that she loved it so much here, and that it was like a ‘tiny fairy garden.’”

The planters in production


This has all been made possible thanks to Cummins, and Garrards Timber, who we thank once again for their generous donations.

Speaking on behalf of the Hospice, John Johnson, Volunteer Services Manager, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Cummins for the extremely generous donation of raised planters, as well as their hard work, commitment and dedication.

“In-kind donations such as these are very important to the overall running of the Hospice.  Not only will the planters offer new opportunities to patients, it also allows the money that would otherwise have been spent on such a resource to be allocated for other aspects of patient care.

“Every bit of support makes a real difference and Cummins’ kindness has provided the Hospice with something that can be enjoyed by many patients over the coming years.”


There are lots of ways you can volunteer your time, skills or experience at Kirkwood.

To find out more about volunteering and Employer Supported Volunteering, please call John Johnson on: 01484 557900 or email: john.johnson@kirkwoodhospice.co.uk  

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