An award-winning garden designer has helped Samaritans secure a prestigious Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, helping the charity celebrate turning 70.
An award-winning garden designer has helped Samaritans secure a prestigious Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in the year that the charity celebrates turning 70.
Samaritans’ Listening Garden, created by Cornwall-based Darren Hawkes, who has previously won multiple accolades at Chelsea, is currently training to become a listening volunteer with the suicide prevention charity.
The garden will celebrate the life-changing impact listening can have by taking visitors on a symbolic journey from the hugely challenging situations many people find themselves in when they reach out to Samaritans, to the comforting support of speaking to a volunteer.
Darren Hawkes said: “Samaritans make sure there’s someone there for anyone struggling to cope, at all times of day and night. The simple act of listening can save lives – suicide can be prevented.
“The garden has two objectives, firstly, to create a safe space, one where people can connect, talk openly, and be heard. Secondly, the garden will depict that while the path to hope can seem full of obstacles, there is support out there and it is always possible for things to change.
“Like everyone, I know people who have struggled, so I’m keen to do what I can to ensure life-changing support is available – especially in the small hours when everyday problems feel magnified, and there’s no one else to turn to.”
Julie Bentley, Samaritans CEO, said: “Having a Show Garden at Chelsea is very special, and a wonderful occasion to help mark our 70th anniversary year.
“Darren’s hugely imaginative Samaritans’ Listening Garden perfectly captures the vital role Samaritans volunteers play in helping people during difficult times.
“I especially love that the garden celebrates and champions the power of listening, which is at the core of every call we take. An often-overlooked way to support our friends, family and even strangers passing by, we know listening can help change, and in some circumstances even save lives.”
Following Chelsea Flower Show, a remodelled version of Samaritans’ Listening Garden will be permanently relocated to a Samaritans branch.
Samaritans Show Garden has been kindly funded by Project Giving Back, for more information click here.
Annually, Samaritans volunteers spend over one million hours listening to people who are finding life difficult and are available 24/7, 365 days a year, free, on 116 123, [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org.
For more info contact Joe Bookbinder, Media Officer at Samaritans, at [email protected]
Notes to Editor
Further quotes from Darren Hawkes on Samaritans’ Listening Garden’s inspiration and design:
“The garden should feel unsophisticated, real, and raw. At one end, huge curtains of reinforced concrete are supported by thin cable, hovering above the delicate foliage of the plants below. Towering above this are giant Aralia chapaensis, spiky and otherworldly.
“On the ground a chasm opens to a well where we hear but cannot see water passing beneath. Beyond this the garden broadens into a sanctuary where the path trodden can be viewed objectively and some of the obstacles that seemed so overwhelming now appear exquisitely crafted, even beautiful.”
- Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org.
- Every 10 seconds, Samaritans responds to a call for help.
- Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and around 20,000 volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope. Find out how you can support us or volunteer with us.
- You can follow Samaritans on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Project Giving Back
- Project Giving Back (PGB) is a unique grant-making charity that provides funding for gardens for good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. PGB was launched in May 2021 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating effect on UK charitable fundraising. It will fund gardens inspired by a range of good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2022, 2023 and 2024.
- PGB will fund a total of 15 gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2023 and intends to fund up to 42 gardens at the show from 2022 - 2024. (Applications for 2023 & 2024 are now closed).
- Project Giving Back was established with funding from two private individuals who are RHS Life Members and keen gardeners. They wish to remain anonymous. PGB will help UK-based good causes recover from the unprecedented effects of the global pandemic by giving them an opportunity to raise awareness of their work for people, plants and the planet at the high-profile RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
- Find out more at www.givingback.org.uk