Willow Wood Hospice celebrates five years since huge grant win

Ashton-based Willow Wood Hospice is celebrating five years since receiving a sizeable grant which allowed them to create a green space for its service users to enjoy. 

In 2016, Tesco's Bags of Help Community Grant Scheme donated £12,000 to the hospice, which provides specialist palliative care for patients with life-limiting illnesses, to help transform the hospice’s ground into an accessible tranquil garden.

The garden space includes an array of beautiful water features, glass sculptures, and stimulatory plants, as well as planting beds for fruit, herbs, and vegetables that are used in the hospice kitchen.

The upgraded outdoor space has also become home to one of Willow Wood’s most popular events, named the Butterfly Memory Release. This distinctive event sees hundreds of Painted Lady butterflies released into the hospice gardens by members of the local community, with each butterfly representing the memory of someone special.

Karen Houlston, Chief Executive at the hospice, said: “On behalf of everyone at Willow Wood, we are so grateful to the Tesco’s Bags of Help grant, which has been instrumental in creating such a beautifully warm and inviting space for our service users. Many in our community see the garden as a personal sanctuary, and provides them with a safe space to truly relax and reflect.”

The hospice was one of the very first community groups to benefit from the Bags of Help scheme, which is currently marking its fifth anniversary this year.

Over the last five years, 3,762 groups across the North West have had reason to celebrate after receiving grants from the Tesco Bags of Help community grant scheme – which is celebrating its birthday this month.

Since the launch of scheme, which is run in partnership with community charity Groundwork, £86 million in total has been donated to 37,000 projects across the UK.

David Ford, Communications Manager at Tesco, said: “Over the last five years, we’ve been delighted to have been able to support so many charities, community groups and organisations from every corner of the UK.

“It was great to hear about how Willow Wood has spent its grant, and we hope it encourages others to apply for support too.”

Graham Duxbury, CEO of Groundwork, said: “Working with Tesco has enabled us to make sure that much-needed funding reaches local groups who really need it.

“Together, over the last 12 months alone, we’ve been able to help a multitude of local organisations supporting our local communities through the pandemic, and we’re excited to see what the next five years, and beyond, will bring.”

The successful scheme is due to relaunch in April at Tesco Community Grants, and charities, community groups and not for profit organisations can still apply for a grant through Tesco’s charity partner Groundwork.

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