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Last month we were excited to finally open our recently refurbished Garden Room. The new space, designed with parents and relaxation in mind, was refurbished and furnished with thanks to Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire and their suppliers. They helped to create a multi-functional homely space for local families staying at the hospice, by renovating and repurposing The Garden Room, previously known as the Play Train.

The original structure of the Play Train (pictured below) was donated and built by The Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St John in 2000 as a replica railway carriage in our hospice garden. It was used for play therapy, but over the years, the room began to look tired and needed some work. During our garden refurbishment last year, Darren Field from The New Driveway Company formed The Business Action Group and brought together a group of volunteers to give the exterior of the Play Train a refresh.

The Play Train when it was being built in 2000

With the outside looking much smarter, the interior still needed a bit of work and a new purpose. And so, w
ith needs at the hospice changing, including variations to our service, we decided to repurpose the space for parents. We wanted to create a dedicated room for them, away from the hospice, where they could relax and work if they needed to, and also have support sessions with the hospice team. This is when Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire stepped in to help us. 


Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire and their suppliers, Show Business Interiors, Symphony Group, Clarkson Evans and Oxford Fencing all joined forces to complete the interior transformation. They provided new furniture, blinds, soft furnishings, units and worktops, lighting and decking. Master Craftsman and Apprentice Manager Keith Ricketts and his apprentices from Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire also volunteered their time to build and install the furniture including a bespoke ‘made-to-measure’ bookcase.


To mark the opening of The Garden Room, and to thank them for their support, Taylor Wimpey and their suppliers visited the hospice for an official opening on 15th March
. Since then, parents and staff have now started to use the new space.

Karen, Max’s Mum, told us this, The refurbished Garden room is now a lovely space that I can use when I come for supportive stays with Max. It gives parents a space to enjoy some time out to read a book, have some relaxation or even talk with the care team. I can see it having many other uses and is a welcome space for parents to use. Thank you to the local businesses who donated their time and resources to make this space so comfortable.’

Taylor Wimpey supporting the hospice

Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire, based in Abingdon, have supported Helen & Douglas House since 2015. Since then they have donated over £43,000 through their staff fundraising. They have taken part in a variety of fundraising activities, including our Kilimanjaro trek, skydives and golf days.

Mark Edmonds, Managing Director at Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire, said, ‘Supporting our local communities is a key part of what we do, and we’re delighted to continue our support for Helen & Douglas House by helping to renovate their Garden Room. This room is such an important part of what the charity offers to families of sick children, and being able to make it extra special for those who use it has made everyone at Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire extremely proud.’


We’re extremely grateful to Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire and their suppliers for creating such a welcoming space. The room marks a new chapter for the building and will make a huge difference to our families. They now have a space where they can recuperate while their child is being cared for by our care team.

We would like to thank all the local companies for their hard work and for making The Garden Room and the area around it both safe and enjoyable. You’ve given exhausted parents, who are often full-time carers, a space they can relax away from the hospice, but still be close enough to be on hand should they be needed. We cannot wait to welcome more parents to this tranquil space.


If you work for or have your own business that would like to support Helen & Douglas House please visit Corporate Fundraising to find out more. Or, you could make a donation to support our hospice car and services, helping to make spaces like this possible.

By making a donation today, you can help care for local children living with life-shortening and terminal conditions. And help children and families, like Karen’s, to get some respite and make special memories together.

More information:

Thank you to Taylor Wimpey plc Oxfordshire and their suppliers, Show Business Interiors, Symphony Group PLC, Clarkson Evans Ltd and Oxford Fencing. Collectively they created a complete interior transformation and supplied all of the furnishings to make it a comfortable space. 


Also, thank you to The Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St John for donating and building the original Play Train. And thank you to Darren Field from The New Driveway Company and The Business Action Group who refurbished the garden, and the exterior of this building in 2021.