Referrals: 01206 890 360
The Hospice: 01206 845 566
Fundraising: 01206 931 468

There were plenty of smiles during the gardening group’s recent visit to Abberton nature reserve, and not just because of the quality of the tea and cakes on offer in the café.

Occupational Therapist Laura Murton runs the group alongside Rehab Assistant Glen McKenna who helps facilitate it. She explained the trip was a welcome change of scene for the group members.

“A lot of the patients aren’t able to get out any more so they get so much from coming to the group and actually being able to get out into the fresh air to somewhere they would previously have been able to visit. Reducing isolation is important, some people can go all week without seeing anybody.

“The gardening group is fairly new, and we’ve never been able to bring the patients out before, which is something we wanted to do, to get them out in nature rather than just talking about it.  It’s been perfect here, it’s all level access and we’ve been able to get round in the wheelchairs. 

“The staff have all been really friendly and helpful and the patients who’ve come have all been asking when they can come again. Richard our volunteer gardener has been great with all his specialist knowledge, and we’ve been really lucky that Tim and Roger have brought everyone here for us.”

After a walk round one of the reserve’s wheelchair-friendly paths, including a visit to a bird hide, the group gathered back in the visitor centre for afternoon tea.

“It’s been nice to get everyone out and see a smile on their faces”, said Laura.

Group member Shirley Bone, who has Lupus, attended the visit with her daughter Lucy. She said: “I used to be a keen gardener, and love handicrafts though I can’t do it anymore. It’s lovely to come to the groups, I really enjoy it. We’ve done some nice mosaic paintings and made some tealights for the hospice garden. It’s been really enjoyable

“It’s lovely coming here to get out in the fresh air, it makes you feel normal again. It’s lovely to have this on your doorstep.”

Another who enjoyed the day was Roy Botham (87).

“I attend the men’s cancer group and the gardening group and I thoroughly enjoy my time at both. At the men’s cancer group we talk about all sorts of things like how we feel and our outlook. I can relax a bit and chat to people, swap stories and experiences.

“I thoroughly enjoy the gardening group; we’ve planted seeds, potted up bulbs and flowers. Anything you can do while sitting down. I was a keen gardener, and I have two big greenhouses at home but I can’t do anything to them now.”

The group has also given Roy a chance to share his knowledge.

“The people who run it do extremely well but if I can help in any way I do. If I wasn’t doing this I would be sitting at home looking at the view out the back window all day long, not speaking to anyone.

Enjoying his tea and cake and admiring the view over the reservoir from the visitor centre, Roy said the day had been enjoyable.

“I like the company, having a good old yarn and a laugh. It’s been smashing”, he said.

We would like to thank Tim and Roger its volunteer drivers who helped make the trip possible, and Pati at Abberton nature reserve who helped organise the trip as part of the our gardening group programme.

Contact Information

To contact the St Helena Fundraising team, please telephone 01206 931 468 or email , Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm.


24 hour advice: SinglePoint 01206 890 360 

SinglePoint is a 24/7 advice and support helpline which helps to coordinate an individual’s care with the hospice. SinglePoint also works alongside other healthcare services such as GPs, Community Nurses or Specialists. 

The Hospice

To contact a patient at The Hospice please find the address and telephone number below. Phone calls can be made to patients at any time of the day or week. You can contact Inpatient Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU

Telephone: 01206 845 566

Hospice in the Home

You can contact The Hospice in the Home Team Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:

Colchester/Halstead team
Telephone: 01206 845 566

Tendring community team
Telephone: 01255 221 222

Day Therapies

You can contact the Joan Tomkins Centre (Colchester) Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:

Telephone: 01206 848 163

Fax: 01206 752 245

You can contact the St Helena Tendring Centre (Clacton) Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01255 221 222

Tendring Centre Postcode for Sat Navs: CO15 1EU

Human Resources

The HR Team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466

Finance Team

To contact the St Helena Finance Team please telephone 01206 931 450 Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Volunteer Services Team

The Volunteer Services team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466

Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, please phone the Marketing and Communications team directly on 01206 931 464

Patient Referrals

If you, or a member of your family has a life-limiting illness and would like to discuss whether St Helena care services can help, you can contact the SinglePoint telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01206 890 360

Bereavement Support

To contact the St Helena Bereavement Support team please telephone the bereavement helpline: 01206 984 274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Learning and Development Centre

The Learning and Development Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm and can be contacted on 01206 851 560

Service User Group

For more information on the St Helena Service User Group please contact Chair, Ken Aldred on 01206 751 397

Facilities Hire Enquiries

01206 851560


To contact the Lottery team please call 0800 285 1390 or visit the website here, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

If you would like to write to or visit the Lottery team, the address is: Your Hospice Lottery Office Unit 6 The Atrium, Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road, Colchester CO4 9AS.

Comment, compliment or complaint

Feedback, comments and complaints about St Helena care and support services may be made verbally or in writing to: Director of Care, St Helena, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, CO4 9JU. To speak to a member of our team, call 01206 845 566