Noeth-east CLAN Cancer Support opens sensory garden

Pictured are David Mincher, Director Integration - Europe at TechnipFMC, Claire Drummond, head of charitable giving at Aberdeen Standard Investments, and Hugh Little, Chairman of CLAN Cancer Support
Pictured are David Mincher, Director Integration - Europe at TechnipFMC, Claire Drummond, head of charitable giving at Aberdeen Standard Investments, and Hugh Little, Chairman of CLAN Cancer Support

A cancer support charity has opened a new sensory garden in the North-east to provide a colourful and fragrant outdoor space for clients and their families.

CLAN Cancer Support has re-developed the garden at its CLAN House wellbeing and support centre on Aberdeen’s Westburn Road creating a rejuvenated outdoor space for clients visiting the centre for support and information, as well as those staying in CLAN Haven while attending Aberdeen hospitals for treatment.

The garden transformation was made possible thanks to support received from Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation and TechnipFMC. The area has been named in memory of an Aberdeen Standard Investments employee Suzanne McKechnie Skinner, who passed away in 2015.

Following a period of planning, the project has progressed over the spring and summer months and features a large variety of flowers and plants which will stimulate the senses.

The thoughtful planning and planting of plants has created two distinct areas in the garden. The sensory area has created a peaceful oasis for quiet contemplation, with the other area lending itself to a social and active space for wellbeing group activities.

Along with sensory planting, the garden now features raised beds and improved paving which will ensure the garden is accessible to everyone visiting the wellbeing and support centre.

The grass area will also provide opportunities for creative pursuits such as drawing and painting, physical activities such as gardening and activities for children affected by a cancer diagnosis.

Dr Colette Backwell, chief executive of CLAN Cancer Support, said: “We’re very proud to open our new sensory garden at CLAN House during what is CLAN’s 35th anniversary. On behalf of everyone at CLAN I’d like to thank Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation and TechnipFMC who have been very generous in their support of the project.

“Thanks to the dedication of CLAN’s skilled garden volunteers the garden had become a relaxing oasis in the heart of Aberdeen and home to a wide range of flowers and plants. We were delighted when the garden won its category in the Aberdeen in Bloom awards in 2017 and 2018.

“This project has built on this foundation, bringing a new dimension to the garden. With colourful appeal, an attractive new layout and secluded seating areas, this space will offer our clients and their families the opportunity to relax outdoors and enjoy a range of activities throughout the year.

“As well as offering a relaxing outdoor area, it’s also important that we have the space to develop different outdoor activities as well as horticultural therapy which has been shown to have a positive impact on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing."

Claire Drummond, head of charitable giving for Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation, said: “Colleagues and friends of Suzanne have seen this project take root, through volunteering their services and helping plant the garden area over the summer months.

“We’re pleased to be part of this collaborative effort, creating a space for contemplation, and the relaxation and enjoyment of clients and visitors to CLAN House.”

Bill Morrice, Managing Director, TechnipFMC UK, said: “We are proud to support CLAN Cancer Support in the creation of their new sensory garden. The space will provide a wonderful area for clients and families to relax and enjoy the outdoors, whilst also participating in the various activities on offer.

“TechnipFMC has worked closely with CLAN Cancer Support for a number of years and to be able to support such a worthwhile project is fantastic.”

CLAN Cancer Support, which is celebrating its 35th birthday, is an independent charity which provides comfort, support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness.