Chelsea charity garden highlights importance of living sensory spaces for seriously ill children and young people 

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show will host an inspiring garden created to highlight the work of WellChild, a national children’s charity, and the important role gardens and outside spaces play in support to seriously ill children and young people.

The WellChild garden, sponsored by CQS and in association with 100 Women in Hedge Funds, was created by Olivia Kirk, a previous Chelsea Flower Show Gold award winning designer. The garden will provide an enclosed central oasis representing the care and support families receive from the charity. From this reassuring and reviving space five paths representing the fingers on WellChild’s hand-shaped logo lead on a journey of exploration with raised beds, planted to appeal to all five senses, spilling into the central garden.

Olivia Kirk said “I was honoured to be asked to design a garden for WellChild at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. I’ve tried my best to bring the work of the charity to life through elements such as a ‘Sensory Wall’ which protectively curves round the garden giving a sense of sanctuary and protection but at the same time hiding musical treasures, bringing a sense of fun and magic to the garden. This wall is framed by two multi stemmed Acer triflorum which lean and unite to make two quite different areas; the central protected area depicting the very hands-on and supportive care given in the early stages of support given to a seriously ill child and their family and the outer area showing the on-going care provided by WellChild Children’s Nurses”

Although best known for their UK-wide team of WellChild Nurses who provide practical and emotional support particularly in the home, WellChild also creates gardens for seriously ill young people and their families all year round. Through its Helping Hands scheme the charity leads teams of volunteers to remodel family gardens to make them suitable for the needs of children with serious health conditions.

The WellChild Garden at Chelsea is sponsored by multi strategy asset management firm CQS and is in association with 100 Women in Hedge Funds, a leading non-profit organisation for professionals in the alternative investments industry.

Michael Hintze, founder of CQS, said: “The dedication and commitment of WellChild’s staff is inspirational. I am delighted that through 100 Women in Hedge Funds we are able to support Olivia’s creation. This garden space enhances the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show and once transported to The Brook Special Primary School on Broadwaters will be enjoyed by so many children for years to come.”

Amanda Pullinger, Chief Executive Office of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside CQS to help fund such an inspiring project. The work WellChild does in supporting seriously ill young people is hugely important, and this garden will be something all children can enjoy for years to come. 100 Women in Hedge Funds is proud to engage on such an exciting venture.”

Colin Dyer, Chief Executive of WellChild said: “WellChild has a strong connection with gardens because of our work to remodel gardens for seriously ill children and their families across the UK. We are delighted to have a garden at Chelsea and would like to thank Olivia for all the hard work and creativity she has put in to create a beautiful and meaningful garden for WellChild. Also a big thank you to CQS and 100 Women in Hedge Funds for their support in making this garden possible.”