A beautiful sunny May afternoon provided the perfect backdrop for the grand opening of our Sensory Courtyard, situated in the centre of our Guildford hospice, Christopher’s.

Some of our supported and bereaved families came along to enjoy the wonderful new space and sample the treats and sensory activities put on by our care team.

The courtyard has been transformed into a bright, calm, and welcoming space to be enjoyed by all at the hospice. The transformation is courtesy of very kind donations in memory of two children who were supported by us, Molly, and Ted, who both sadly died last year.

Two of the team from supporters GoHenry, attended the opening to see how much their support will be enjoyed by families we care for. Their generous donation, in memory of Molly, helped towards the amazing AstroTurf, which not only provides a safe and textured ground but allows wheelchairs, buggies, and super speedy children to whizz round the space safely.

Alongside the new AstroTurf, beautiful planters have been installed, which are crammed full of sensory plants and flowers and provide a sense of calm and nature.

In the centre of the garden is a square gravelled area complete with a mirrored ball to reflect movement and light. Thanks to supporters Fourfront Group who rallied the troops and helped move the gravel in place in time for the grand opening.

The theme of the afternoon was based on the much-loved book ‘Tiger Who Came to Tea’, as one of the uses of the courtyard will be as a reading area for children, families and the care team to enjoy a book together. There’s even a special wooden reading throne, which Ginny, our Physiotherapist, tried out for size to read the story to everyone.

Matt, our marvellous hospice chef, whipped up some terrific tiger treats to keep rumbling, or should that be roaring, tummies at bay, and families were serenaded by Marion, our Music Therapist, singing tiger inspired tunes.

What’s more there was an actual tiger* who made an appearance! (*Who looked a lot like Rachel, one of our Family Support Workers!)

This week the final touches have been added to our courtyard with a stylish water feature added to the gravelled area, giving a beautiful focal point in the courtyard. This was possible thanks to a generous donation from a supported family, covering the cost of the feature itself and installation, as well as the wooden Chic Teaks chairs, stools and solar lights.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in making it a very special day and to our amazing supporters and volunteers who have helped create a wonderful sensory space for children and families to enjoy! (just watch out for the tiger!)

Events like this and for the future will be wonderfully organised by our new Events Officer, Caroline Brett-Field. This brand new role will be focused on organising and facilitating all upcoming events both at the hospices, days out and trips – so if you have any ideas of how you could support us in creating memories for families in this way please do caroline.brett-field@shootingstar.org.uk who’d love to hear from you!

Our hospices provide a home from home environment to the families we support, giving them a calm, fun and inviting place to spend time together and remember loved ones. This is only possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters – please consider donating if you can.