University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) is the leading university teaching hospital in the West Midlands and is one of the most consistently high performing trusts in the NHS. It provides a full range of services, has a large renal (kidney) programme and is a specialist centre for burns and plastic surgery, organ transplants, neuroscience and cancer.
12 NHS Forest sites were identified across the combined Mental Health and Acute Trusts working collaboratively with mental health and physical disability. Site 1 was planted with 20 fruit trees as a community orchard. Other phases will include providing:
- raised beds for community use
- six bee hives
- regenerated woodland and additional woodland planting
- bluebell and snowdrop planting
- a poppy meadow for the centenary of the First World War
- a reminiscence garden for elderly care.
The Trust is also the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and injured military personnel from conflicts across the world come to it. The orchards and gardens will also serve these patients. In addition, they are working with The Woodland Trust to regenerate and improve existing woodland and the National Trust, with whom they are hoping to host a national collection of ferns.
The site is a great example of how strategically astute management can effect large-scale change to benefit the health and wellbeing of hospital patients, staff and visitors within a hospital environment. It was the subject of a case study by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and our site of the month for August.
In October 2014, it was awarded the NHS Forest Award for the Most Number of Trees Planted.
250 young trees were planted over the weekend of 22/23rd Feb 2015 and an additional 120 fruit trees. That takes our orchards to four with some 140 fruit trees in them. The majority being a mixture of Apples- eating and cooking, Cherry, Plum, Pear and Damson - mostly traditional varieties from the Midlands.
By the end of 2016, the site will feature 200 trees, and 10,000 bulbs have been planted. A wild flower meadow is being set up and food is being grown on site. A Green Space Coordinator has been appointed to work with schools and local groups. Plans are in place for the next developments: a Staff Grow Club, poly tunnels and wildlife pond will follow. Watch this space!