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ARI Robertson Family Therapeutic Roof Garden

The new Robertson Family Roof Garden at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is now open!  Many individuals and organisations have taken an interest in the development of the garden and we would now like to invite you to 'open days' that we are planning later this month.
It is now some four years since the vision of creating a roof garden, so that our most unwell patients could be taken outside, whether walking, in a wheelchair, or a bed was first envisaged. The idea was ambitious, unique and innovative.  Three years ago we were honoured to be donated our garden designer Professor Nigel Dunnett's gold medal winning, RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden, by the Royal Bank of Canada.
The last three years have been a whirlwind of fundraising, talks, raffles, fairs, shows, planning, design, engagement, meetings, technical discussions, construction and so much, more.  It has required hard work, dedication, tenacity and fortitude, but creating a beautiful, calm outside space, in the heart of a very busy hospital campus, has always been the ultimate goal.
In October 2015 we reached a major milestone with Professor Dunnett coming to Aberdeen to oversee the planting of the garden.  Construction was almost complete, with a range of safety and security measures being take forward over the winter.  In the early months of 2016 the garden has been opened to patients, when the winter weather has allowed.  This has not been a high profile or official opening, but its impact has been immense.  To see the effect of fresh air, open space, plants, trees, water, innovative design and creative planting on those patients who have already used the garden has been both inspiring and humbling.
From Saturday 21st May to Sunday 29th May inclusive (9 days) we will be conducting escorted visits to the garden.  Choosing this week is no coincidence - it is the week of the Chelsea Flower Show 2016 and it seems fitting to us that we should celebrate the opening of our redesigned Chelsea Flower Show garden in Chelsea week.
If your group, or you as an individual, would like to visit the garden between 21st and 29th May, it is essential that you book in advance. As a functioning major acute hospital we must manage numbers carefully and conduct the open days in a planned way, ensuring that the visits do not impact on the normal running of the hospital.
To book a place or places for a visit, which will be available during the morning 10am-12noon, afternoon 1.30pm-5pm and evening 6pm-8pm please e-mail nhsg.ariroofgarden@nhs.net or phone 01224 553316.  
We expect the week to be very busy and would advise you to book early. We will require your name/names, a contact number and confirmation of the numbers attending. The visit will include the opportunity to see the Sandpiper Sanctuary, beside the roof garden, with its beautiful stained glass window funded by the Sandpiper Trust.  Each escorted group visit to the Sanctuary and the Roof Garden will last approximately half an hour.  Numbers will be limited to 20 per time slot.
We hope you will understand that in the event of an unexpected clinical situation we might require to postpone visits at short notice for safety reasons, so it is essential that we can contact you.
You will probably be aware that parking at Foresterhill can be difficult and our priority for parking is for patients and those who need urgent access.  We would suggest that you consider using public transport, car sharing and using the on street parking in the vicinity of the hospital.  You should enter the hospital at the entrance to the Emergency Department which is in the Matthew Hay Building.  This is marked with an arrow on the enclosed map. (pdf)
We look forward to hearing from you and hope that you or your group / organisation will be able to visit in May.  We encourage you to take this opportunity to view the roof garden because after these open days, the garden will no longer be accessible to members of the public as the area will be restricted for patients only.
Updates on how the appeal is progressing is available on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ari.roofgarden.

If you would like to find out more about this project, or would like to get involved, please e-mail nhsg.ariroofgarden@nhs.net

Please dig deep!