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Volunteers help King’s College Hospital garden grow

25 March 2024 - Families and carers of liver transplant patients can now benefit from a garden makeover at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

A group of volunteers teamed up on Friday 15 March to revitalise a garden at Camberwell’s King’s College Hospital’s LISTEN Lodges. The work involved substantial pruning, cleaning garden furniture, painting, and the installation of new planters and solar lights.

Families travel to King’s College Hospital from across the UK when their loved one gets a call to say there is an available liver transplant. The hospital’s LISTEN lodges provide carers and relatives with a safe and comforting environment in close proximity to the hospital when they are not at their loved ones’ bedside. The lodges are maintained by the charity LISTEN, a group of patient volunteers and staff from the King’s Liver Unit.

Paul McKie, specialist social worker (Liver Transplant) at King’s College Hospital, said: “The garden at our LISTEN Lodges has been brought back to life, and now we have a quiet and safe area for family members, carers and loved ones to retreat for some fresh air, comfort and reflection. The space has been completely transformed and we’re extremely thankful to everyone who has worked so hard to make this project a reality.”

As well as volunteers from local organisations, a number of people who also lent a hand with the garden renovation have first-hand experience of liver transplant services at King’s College Hospital. 

Long-term LISTEN member and transplant recipient Linda Fraser, from Ealing, said: “Our hope is that we can bring some much-needed space and peace to family members and loved ones going through an extremely challenging time. We know how beneficial a garden can be at difficult times, especially to mental wellbeing, and I’m sure it will make a great difference.”

Bexley resident Angela Cattermole, who underwent a liver transplant at King’s in 2013 and is also a member of LISTEN, supported with the garden renovation. She said: “It is wonderful to think of the sanctuary this garden will be able to offer people, and the precious moments it will bring. It’s an honour to be part of such a fantastic team effort.”

A number of staff members from organisations including CBRE Managed Services, TES, TES Building Services and The Tower 42 Estate gave up their time to help revamp the garden, alongside support from LISTEN members.

Scott Mulligan, Account Manager for CBRE at Tower 42, said: “We were grateful to have the opportunity to give up our time to freshen up the LISTEN lodge garden. LISTEN is a great charity and it was an honour for us to be able to help in whatever way we could to make the space more welcoming for family members.”