A GARDEN for veterans in Gosport has been spruced up by workers from a defence firm.
Software engineers from QinetiQ in Haslar Road, Gosport, went across the road to get their hands dirty at the memorial garden at the Royal Hospital Haslar.
The 16 workers laid the foundation for a log cabin which has been bought by charity Shore Leave, which will be used by therapists and psychiatrists.
Veterans visit and tend to the gardens, as doing so has therapeutic value.
Vic Vagliani is the managing director of QinetiQ Graphic Research Corporation.
The group, who visited Haslar, make software that designers use to plan ships and submarines.
He said: ‘Every year we have a team-building day and this year we decided we wanted to do something for the community.
‘Working for the navy, we felt this fitted in well.
‘It’s great work they’re doing, the garden therapy is fantastic for the veterans.’
The £13,380 funding for the log cabin, along with a ride-on lawnmower, and new access from Haslar Road has come from bank fines.
Shore Leave bid for share of the fines levied on banks for attempting to manipulate the Libor interest rate.
Some £35m from the fines was given to the Ministry of Defence.
The cash is being used to support the armed forces covenant.
Roy, a former submariner, who did not want his full name to be published, said the garden has changed his life.
He suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.
He said: ‘I started coming down here because of the tranquillity and its a peaceful area, a safe place.
‘I felt happy here, and I actually enjoy gardening now.
‘It’s helped me turn my life around and have a better quality of life.’
Chris Robson is the lead on the Shore Leave project.
She said: ‘Some people will want to come, sit quietly and contemplate.
‘Other people want to take part, they want to do some physical labour.’
As reported this week, £100m will be spent on developing Haslar, creating 500 jobs – but the memorial garden will remain.