Kitchen garden will provide for the future at Thorpe Hall

The old kitchen garden at Thorpe Hall Hospice EMN-150630-140508001
The old kitchen garden at Thorpe Hall Hospice EMN-150630-140508001

An abandoned patch of the grounds at Thorpe Hall Hospice is set to be transformed into a sustainable kitchen garden as part of a community project supported by local businesses.

The north west corner of the gardens was, around a century ago, the mansion house’s kitchen garden. More recently it was home to a volunteer-led garden centre. For the last 15 years the acre of land has lain fallow and is home to nothing more than weeds and rabbits.

Now the area has become the focus of a vision to create a kitchen garden, run by volunteers, growing produce to be used in the hospice’s kitchens and, eventually, the source of produce for a Thorpe Hall farm shop.

And it will be an important part of the holistic care offered by Thorpe Hall to inpatients, day service members and the clients of Headway Cambridgeshire, which has recently moved its regional hub to the hospice in Longthorpe, Peterborough.

Headway’s horticulturist Simon Lacey has been instrumental in planning the layout of the space, which includes low level and raised beds, potting area, greenhouse, poly tunnel and fruit bushes. There will also be seating areas, a children’s area and a flower border.

A number of businesses have pledged support to the project with donations of equipment, landscaping and plants.

Thorpe Hall and Headway Cambridgeshire’s clients and patients will be encouraged to spend time in the kitchen garden, if they wish, with a handy tick list of jobs that need doing posted weekly.

Hospice director Jane Petit has spearheaded the plan to reintroduce a kitchen garden at Thorpe Hall.

She said: “We are very lucky here at Thorpe Hall to have the space to create a traditional kitchen garden and to have received such valuable advice and support from businesses in the area who share our vision.

“The kitchen garden will broaden the activities we are able to offer patients as well as raising money and giving us new volunteering opportunities for our corporate supporters.”

Work will begin on the kitchen garden this month with the first harvest planned for this autumn.

If you’d like to get involved with building the kitchen garden Thorpe Hall is keen to recruit volunteers able to give a few hours, or days, next week. Please call 01733 225943.