Maggie's Leeds rooftop tours: National Open Garden Scheme event opens up amazing green space at St James' Hospital to public

A hospital-based therapeutic garden designed to help cancer patients and their families recharge will be open to the public for the first time this weekend.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:45 am

Maggie’s Leeds is based in St James’ Hospital and now boasts three large rooftop gardens and gardens around all sides of the centre.

The charity provides support and information for people affected by cancer across the UK.

Its Leeds centre and gardens were built in 2019 following a £100,000 donation from the National Open Garden Scheme.

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Chris and Fiona Royfe, Yorkshire assistant county organisers at the National Garden Scheme, get a sneak preview of the tour to be offered to those visiting the Maggie's Leeds centre this weekend. Picture: Tony Johnson

It was created after evidence suggested by the National Open Garden Scheme found that access to gardens have therapeutic and health benefits for cancer patients and their family and friends.

And this weekend, those gardens will be welcoming the public for the first time as part of a new initiative.

The grounds will be open for hourly tours between 11am and 3pm on Saturday

Visitors will be able to access the garden and then be brought into the centre to see first-hand how it helps patients.

The rooftop gardens at Maggies, the cancer centre based at St James's Hospital. Picture: Tony Johnson

Laura Riach, the centre’s fundraising manager, said, “We hope to do this as an annual event - this is the first one. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, we’re only allowed 12 people on site at a time whereas next year, we’re looking to have much larger numbers.”

Tickets for the garden open day this weekend must be pre-booked on the National Open Garden Scheme website. They cost £4 for adults and are free for children.

The gardens were designed by award-winning Landscape Design Firm Balston Agius in collaboration with Thomas Heatherwick who adopted the concept of wild Yorkshire Woodlands. They aim to provide both physical and psychological shelter.

Full-grown trees including oak, birch and Scott’s pine as well as thousands of plants such as bird cherry, rowan, hazel, holly and ivy are planted in the gardens.

Maggie's fundraising organiser Amy Elver with Chris and Fiona Royfe, Yorkshire assistant county organisers for National Garden Scheme. Picture: Tony Johnson

The National Garden Scheme receives donations by garden owners, volunteers and visitors which in turn, contributes to their donations towards charities.