Award-Winning Chelsea Flower Show’s ‘Hope on the Horizon’ garden puts down roots for wounded troops

Award-Winning Chelsea Flower Show’s ‘Hope on the Horizon’ garden puts down roots for wounded troops


The award-winning ‘Hope on the Horizon’ garden, designed by Matthew Keightley, of Maidenhead-based landscaping firm Farr and Roberts’, has been moved to a Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester where it will help Servicemen, women and Veterans who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses.

Help For Heroes Colchester GardenThe garden, which represents the complex and progressive path of recovery experienced by our wounded, injured and sick Heroes and their families, was designed to inspire, enable and support during their recovery and beyond. It was shown at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, where it was awarded a Silver-Gilt medal, and captured the hearts of the voting public who also crowned it their People’s Choice.

Since then, Matt and his team from Farr & Roberts have worked non-stop to landscape the outdoor space at the Recovery Centre in Essex. With the support of the local community generously raising £100,000 towards the project, they have transformed the bare shrub land into a tranquil, peaceful haven that will now offer wounded veterans, serving personnel and their loved ones privacy and a place for reflection. 

Mark Taylor, a former warrant Officer who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the garden is a welcome addition to Chavasse VC House, the Centre he describes as a compassionate family. Mark accepted the garden on behalf of all the injured servicemen and women who will use the garden in the years to come. 

Help For Heroes Colchester Garden 2Mark said: “When you have PTSD, there are times when you need to walk off, go to a place where there is solitude, a place to be on your own, where you can cry if you need to. The garden provides this. It will be a place for reflection, it is calm and quiet.”

Bryn Parry OBE, Co-Founder Help for Heroes, said: “Help for Heroes is all about ‘doing your bit’ and the phenomenal support of both the public and businesses of Essex has allowed us to create this astonishing garden. It offers both serving and Veteran members of the Armed Forces who suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses with a tranquil space for reflection; both of hat happened and the future.”

The Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Chavasse VC House, is a 29 bedroomed purpose-built house providing direct practical support for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans. Within the centre the Support Hub offers guidance on a range of needs such as housing and financial. It also connects individuals to other partner charities. The health and well-being of each hero is taken care of at the Centre too, as it embraces a holistic approach to the recovery process.  Sports recovery sessions such as wheelchair rugby, gym inductions and individual workouts in the adapted gymnasium plus complementary therapies ensure that each person who stays receives the best support as they prepare to make the transition to civvy street or adjust to life post injury as a Veteran. The garden means that the recovery programme can now extend outside the building, getting the ‘’blokes’ (the men and women of the Armed Forces) into the fresh air and taking part in new programmes such as horticultural workshops.

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