Nestled in the gardens of a Chorley children’s hospice is a unique counselling pod that overlooks trees, flowers, and visiting wildlife.
The small building is ready to provide a serene setting for mums, dads, brothers, sisters and grandparents to receive one-to-one counselling outside of the hospice building.
The counselling pod is part of Derian House’s major garden makeover that will transform the charity’s outdoor spaces for its families.
The hospice will open up its gardens this Sunday (3 April) as part of the National Garden Scheme and visitors will get the chance to see the pod, as well as the freshly painted seaside garden, the smile park playground, the sensory garden, and the newly-added infinity pool water feature within the reflection area.
The counselling pod doors opened last summer, providing an extra space for Derian House’s two new family counsellors who were employed at the beginning of March.
Fazila Patel and John Pilling have come from different working backgrounds and have over 30 years of counselling experience between them.
Fazila, 52, a counsellor who has worked with young people and families across Lancashire, said: “Our job is to be that listening ear and to give that vital emotional support that our families need.
“The woodland pod is a beautiful and unique addition to our service. It doesn’t feel clinical and will provide a safe space for families who might not want to step foot into the hospice. Helping families to feel more relaxed can help them to verbalise their situation better.”
John, 42, a therapist who has a background in educational settings in Preston, said: “I feel there is no greater honour than working with families.
“There is a feel of escapism when you sit in the woodland pod that helps you to feel calm and grounded. I think it will be a beneficial environment for our families.”
Counselling sessions are free to families supported by Derian House, but running services at the hospice costs £5 million every single year. With more than 80% of this needing to be raised by supporters, the charity relies heavily on the generosity of its community.
Lynn Grayson, Director of Clinical Services at Derian House, said: “Counselling is an important part of the support we offer to our families and can be crucial to someone’s wellbeing or recovery.
“We hope the counselling pod will give our families a feeling of calm.”
Visitors to this weekend’s Open Gardens event will get to see the new counselling pod, as well as the rest of the hospice’s colourful outdoor spaces. They will enjoy homemade cake and refreshments at the event, running from 10am to 4pm.
There will also be a chance to meet Derian’s Pets as Therapy dogs, chat to volunteers and take part in activities for the whole family including a scavenger hunt, bubble art, face painting and pirate-themed arts and crafts.
Parking is free and tickets cost £3 for adults with children going free. Find out more and book here.