Friends of Robin House plant sensory garden with Blue Peter pro

Gardening staff, volunteers, families and friends of Robin House Children’s Hospice were joined by former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins alongside Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) supporters Jackie Baillie MSP and Patrick Harvie MSP to plant 12 trees supplied by Octopus Energy. The occasion was part of a nationwide initiative to promote cleaner air and a greener environment in the local community.

Friends of Robin House plant sensory garden with Blue Peter pro
Chris Collins, Rose Harvie, Patrick Harvie and Maggie Brown

The MSPs got their wellies on and rolled their sleeves up alongside local children from Carousel Nursery in Dumbarton and Lennox Primary School to get the job done with the expert guidance of Chris. Resident families came out to celebrate this dynamic new addition to the ever-developing garden, which has established itself as a sensory space for all who use the hospice.

Award-winning green energy supplier Octopus Energy has supplied 10,000 trees to more than 500 schools and community groups across the UK. The initiative is part of its commitment to a cleaner, greener nation. As a renewable energy supplier, it is the company’s mission to reduce harmful gas emissions. Of course, planting trees helps to increase the absorption of harmful CO2 gases and improve local air quality.

The schools and community groups receiving trees were nominated by a representative or a member of the public following Octopus Energy’s open call.

Robin House, part of CHAS, applied to be part of the movement to further develop the communal garden space and create a sensory area that will cater for all families who use the hospice. Today’s planting will kick-start an initiative committed to getting children outside and educating them about the environment.

Friends of Robin House plant sensory garden with Blue Peter pro
Chris Collins and Patrick Harvie

Maggie Brown, Head Gardener at Robin House, said:

“At Robin House, we are as environmentally-minded as possible. We reuse, recycle and compost all our own materials. We are really grateful for the opportunity to take part in Octopus Energy’s tree planting initiative and to continue transforming the garden space for the benefit of all our families and the environment.”

Chris Collins said:

“I knew it would be good but Robin House’s garden has totally blown me away. I’ve visited hospices before and know how much care and attention goes into them but this has far exceeded what I imagined. Maggie and her crew of volunteers are doing an amazing job – it’s very varied and there’s so much starting to flourish already this season. I’m glad to be here with Octopus Energy to contribute a little bit; hopefully, these trees will add to its beauty.”

Green MSP Patrick Harvie’s mother, Rose, has worked as a volunteer at the garden for six years and has been a source of inspiration for her son’s environmentally driven crusade. He said:

“This is my first visit to the Robin House garden but my mum has been a volunteer here for a long time. I’ve heard stories but had no idea it was so big and lively. It’s a really diverse garden with all these nooks and crannies with a lot of delightful character. It’s the kind of resource you would hope is going to enrich the lives of the kids and families who come into the hospice. This kind of eco-friendliness is a change that the whole world is going to have to get to grips with. A lot of organisations can learn a lot from what CHAS are doing here.”

Jackie Baillie MSP said:

“I think Robin House is a magical place. What the staff and volunteers have done with the garden over the years has been tremendous to see. It’s a great space to be in and the fact that it’s always evolving is brilliant. Planting trees today has been enormous fun and it was lovely to have the local school and nursery involved. Everybody’s joined in, it’s a fantastic community effort.”

CHAS works across Scotland, able to provide its hospice services nationwide for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions. CHAS offers palliative, respite and end-of-life care from Robin House in Balloch and Rachel House in Kinross.

CHAS at Home supports families with the services of a hospice yet in their own homes across the whole of Scotland and through its Diana Children’s Nurses working in hospitals across the country, CHAS supports families and clinical teams.

To get involved in CHAS as a volunteer, whether you’d like to help run one of our kitchens, gardens or represent the charity as an ambassador in your community, the full range of current opportunities can be found online at