Healing Garden

Providing caring relief for those who have suffered abuse
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The Garden

As part of our diocesan desire to reach out to those who have been hurt by abuse in a sensitive and meaningful way, our diocesan safeguarding team, the Hope Centre and our healing and reconciliation group have designed and created a garden on the grounds of our Cathedral.

“The banner He raises over me is Love” (Song of Songs 2:4). In many different cultures people leave ribbons behind them when they leave special places as a sign of hope they have in the future. In Celtic traditions ribbons have been hung by holy wells as a sign of prayer, just as candles are lit in a church as a sign of a prayer that carries on when you leave. Ribbons have been used as a sign of peace, of hope and of blessing.

124 ribbons in total were placed around the tree between 15th and 17th before being blessed on the national day of prayer for survivors, and will soon be made into an art installation


As one of the first flowers of spring, they often symbolise new beginnings, hope, rebirth and the ability to overcome challenges. This symbolism is the inspiration for the watercolour above painted  by Martin Taylor entitled ‘Snowdrops in the Healing Garden’. More of Martins work can be found here www.martintaylorartist.com

Mary’s Narrative

Read Mary’s Story here as told by her daughter Angela

“There was neither fun nor kindness ever shown to her”

our hopes

we hope the garden will provide:

  • Spiritual and emotional calming relief
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve an individuals sense of well-being and hopefulness

The artist Johan Barber kindly designed the above image of the garden. Her thinking behind the painting was to make the foreground darker, to represent moving from the darkness of grief and sadness into the light of the garden with the birds positioned in such a way to encourage the person to come within the garden and find peace and joy

Finding Peace in a Garden Peace is difficult to find for everyone, particularly those of us who struggle with their mental health. The world news is currently dreadful, and we are all tussling with trying to make ends meet as the cost of living increases. But often there is no peace within ourselves – we are too harassed or worried or simply too tired to

allow ourselves time to find some peace and quiet. The natural world has wonderful restorative powers. We often think of it as at rest, but have you ever watched bees and butterflies skimming around to collect pollen? Or ants busily collecting food to take back to the nest to feed their queen and her babies? None of them ever seem to stop! But the thing I love about the natural world is the variety; those busy butterflies with their fantastic outfits, the birds flying around or perched in amusing patterns singing beautiful songs, the wonderful colours of the different flowers, the sounds of the wind or even the rain. And in recognising the beauty of the natural world, I feel more at peace. Watching the natural world at play, which it seems constantly to be, although with serious intent, always makes me feel more alive and at one with myself. Observing the busy tranquillity of a garden helps me to realise that I too am part of the natural world, and that I too am wonderfully made, as everything I’m watching is – even those things I don’t really like! And when I get my hands dirty – putting in plants or digging up weeds (which are simply plants growing in the wrong place!), really feel much lighter and able to manage the rest of my life. And I hope that everyone who visits this garden will be able to feel the same.


Abuse Survivor