Plants from the iconic Saxon Court building are helping Willen Hospice create a greater sense of wellbeing for patients, and a warmer welcome to visitors.
For decades, Saxon Court has been home to some of the city’s largest and interesting plants. Now, ahead of the development of the £190 million MK Gateway site which will see the former council building retained, refurbished, and extended, mixed-use developers Socius is seeking new homes for the plants.
Over 1,000 shrubs, trees and palms were housed within Saxon Court and, since a call out to find new custodians to secure the future of the plants, many of which are over 40 years old, Socius has received an overwhelming response.
Now, after a series of plant workshops and a donation to Willen Hospice, almost all of the plants have been rehomed, with the last remaining few due to leave imminently.
Therapy staff and volunteers from Willen Hospice selected plants from Saxon Court and re-potted them within the Hospice’s new Wellbeing Centre, which opened last year as a dedicated space for staff to take care of people’s physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and social needs.
The plants have been placed throughout all key areas of the Wellbeing Centre including within the complementary therapy rooms and counselling rooms, while additional plants have been placed in the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit.
“There is a lot of evidence to show the benefits that plants have on wellbeing, so we knew that this was something we wanted to incorporate into the Wellbeing Centre,” comments Jenni Marks, Therapeutic and Wellbeing Operational Lead at Willen Hospice. “Good quality plants are, however, very expensive, and as a charity we need to be very mindful of how money is spent. When we found out about the kind offer to take plants from Saxon Court, we were thrilled. The inclusion of plants makes the space feel less ‘clinical’- the services offered within the Wellbeing Centre does not have a medical focus and we wanted this to come across in the space that we use.
We have already had a great response from patients and carers who visit about the plants; they have told us that they give the area a ‘homely’ feel. Some clients have even offered to take care of them when they come in for their regular wellbeing sessions!”
The donation of plants to Willen Hospice is part of a wider campaign by the sustainably conscious developers, in partnership with Milton Keynes City Council, to protect and secure the future of the plants which are a significant part of the heritage of Saxon Court.