• Horticulture apprentices, Instructor Matthew Thomas, Ward Manager Bernadette Parry, Louise White

Horticulture apprentices from Reaseheath College, Nantwich, have renovated a garden for patients at Leighton Hospital as their contribution to National Apprenticeship Week (March 6 – 10).

The young people, who work for local businesses, are studying for their Level 2 Apprenticeship in Horticulture at Reaseheath on one day a week and spend the rest of their week gaining skills in the workplace.

A team of six apprentices, guided by Reaseheath Instructor  Matthew Thomas, decided to make a difference for cardiology and acute coronary care patients  in Ward 1 at the Crewe hospital.

On Monday they carried out a makeover of an internal garden which is popular with patients and their relatives, particularly during the summer months.  As well as clearing and weeding flower beds the apprentices pruned shrubs and introduced new plants for Spring colour which were donated by Reaseheath College.

Said Bernadette Parry, Ward 1 Manager: “We were delighted when the apprentice team offered to help tidy up our garden.  Their work is hugely appreciated, particularly the pruning, as it has opened up much more space and will make it more accessible for wheelchair users.

“A lot of our patients and their relatives enjoy sitting in the garden during the warmer weather for a change of scene and I have no doubt that it will be well used.”

Said Rhys Walker, 18, an apprentice with Tatterton Landscape Services:  “It’s been really satisfying looking at the finished job and knowing that we’ve made a difference to the lives of the patients.”

The other apprentices involved in the project were: Jack Appleton (Congleton Town Council); Chris Bedson (Countrywide Grounds Maintenance); Sam Page (Cholmondeley Castle Gardens); Chris Marriott (Stocks Lane Nurseries, Over Peover); Jacob Wilkes (S J Fisheries, Betley, Crewe).

This is not the first time that Reaseheath apprentices have been part of a community project at Leighton Hospital. Several years ago the trainees renovated Ward 1’s garden and this in turn inspired  volunteers at the hospital to do a similar project in Ward 4’s sensory dementia garden.