The “Healthy Haven” garden at the Waterside Medical Practice, Beaulieu Road, Hythe, is run by volunteers for the benefit of patients, staff and the general public.

As well as being a source of colour, calm, and comfort for humans, the aim is to also create a space that attracts and nurtures wildlife.

Lead volunteer Christine Bennett said: “ExxonMobil Fawley kindly contributed £700 last year, some of which we used to buy some trees.

These include a Crab Apple, Wild Cherry, Elderberry, and a Joseph Rock Mountain Ash, which has yellow berries.

We also purchased three tonnes of topsoil which has been used for a large border that was cleared in the autumn.”

In addition, the remaining funds of about £470 will go towards a fundraising appeal to purchase a new log cabin to replace the Healthy Haven’s dilapidated shed.

Christine said: “We are hoping to raise £7,500 for the cabin, which should last for the next 30 to 40 years.

We have raised just over £1,000 so far, so this contribution from ExxonMobil Fawley is very much appreciated.”

Due to COVID-19, the garden is currently closed to the public, but the volunteers hope they will be able to welcome people back before too long.

Christine said: “We were able to host small groups of visitors for strawberry cream teas last summer and we would love to do that again this year as they were hugely popular.

In addition, we hope to hold an open day which we had to postpone last year, as well as Tai Chi classes.

If circumstances allow, the medical centre’s Bereavement and Health Promotion groups will also use the garden this year, and we hope to invite some of our benefactors in to see how their kind donations have made a huge difference.

We are incredibly grateful for all the support.”

Angharad Vaughan, ExxonMobil Fawley’s Community Affairs Adviser, said: “The Healthy Haven provides a colourful and welcoming space for people from across the Waterside community.

The volunteers have done a fantastic job. We are delighted to have been able to support this wonderful project and look forward to seeing it blossom in the years to come.”

  • The volunteers have set up a Facebook group about the garden and the fundraising effort for a new log cabin. Visit Healthy Haven Garden to find out more.