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New Care Home for Veterans
Summer opening of new care home in Solihull, West Midlands.
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new homes

This summer, The Royal Star & Garter Homes will open their new home in Solihull, West Midlands benefitting disabled ex-Service men and women and their spouses or partners.

Based at Richmond, Surrey since the Charity’s inception in 1916, the historic building is no longer suitable to care for the frail, elderly residents, most of whom are in wheelchairs. The Charity has therefore embarked on an ambitious and wide-reaching project to build new homes around the country.

The Solihull Home has 60 ensuite bed-sitting rooms, comprising 45 for those requiring nursing care and 15 rooms are in a separate specially-designed unit to accommodate residents with dementia. The rooms are spacious with large and low windows to enable residents to enjoy the view. They are fully equipped to maximise comfort and safety, and to facilitate personal care and one-to-one therapy.

The new home also boasts a large dining room and adjoining activity/function room, a café and bar area, light and airy residents’ lounges, and a sizeable garden including a separate sensory garden.

Residents from the West Midlands area will occupy the new home.

The Royal Star & Garter is currently awaiting the outcome of a planning application to build a second new home at Hampton Court Station where the current residents of the Richmond building will be transferred in due course.

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Tel: 020 8439 8000
Fax: 020 8439 8002


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Gardening Leave

In March 2007 Anna Baker Creswell set up Gardening Leave. A charity providing horticultural therapy to
ex-Service personnel with combat-related mental health problems.

Horticultural therapy is new to the UK;
It was used extensively to treat returning USA Servicemen after the Vietnam War and there are now horticultural therapy projects across America.

First established in Ayrshire Gardening Leave takes referrals from Hollybush House Combat Stress treatment centre. Veterans help to grow vegetables for use in the centre’s kitchen and are completing restoration of Scotland’s only National Collection of poppies which when completed will be dedicated to the fallen from conflicts such as Malaya and Aden where many Hollybush veterans served.

Veterans enjoy being outside, with their mates, and “doing their bit” to help in the garden – from hoeing the poppy beds to picking peas.
In the walled garden they have a ‘clear view’ of their surroundings and many veterans comment that they relax when they are in the garden so sleep better, regain their appetites and engage better with others as a result.

Anna hopes to start Gardening Leave projects in walled gardens wherever there is a need. The Royal Hospital Chelsea could well be the next venue. She says, “I am very proud to be playing a small part in helping these extraordinary people to face the challenges they meet in their everyday lives while living with PTSD. With hope, understanding and a sense of involvement, we can genuinely make a difference.”

Steven Gibb served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers and comes to Gardening Leave with his dog, Grace. He recently became a member of the Army Arts Society and his portrait of Michael Douglas won the coveted Linda Kitson Prize at the Society’s annual exhibition in Salisbury. Steven says that Gardening Leave has given him structure, routine and exercise, things which his life had been lacking until he started working with the charity.

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