Broomfield hospital is a large general hospital situated in Chelmsford, Essex, and is part of the Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust. The hospital joined the NHS Forest after taking part in tree planting in 2010. Broomfield Hospital has an extensive green estate, including two woodlands in the hospital grounds; Puddings Wood and the Long Shapely Belt. Puddings Wood is an ancient semi natural woodland comprising 2ha and Long Shapely Belt is 1ha (amenity plantation approximately 80 years old).
An update from 2018:
A ten year management project, initiated by a legal agreement following planning permission started in July 2009. That period is coming to a close, with no legal agreement for a further plan moving forward. However, the Trust is proud of having this natural estate, and is aware of its corporate responsibilities in providing a therapeutic environment for all visiting its hospital facilities; internally and externally. A new 10 year woodland management plan is being proposed.
A variety of outdoor-based activities have taken place within Broomfield Hospital’s natural estate, and coinciding with the launch of their ‘Natural Health Service Project’ a community based initiative that provides hands-on volunteering experience in a natural environment alongside sustainable living and conservation education.
A community-based vegetable garden and fruit tree orchard has been maintained since 2014, with weekly sessions every summer. The Wellbeing Terrace opened in 2015, transforming a disused tarmacked area into a relaxation area for patients, visitors and staff to all enjoy, complete with seating and activity equipment. Two clinically led dementia gardens (Forget-me-Not & Live-Well) have been developed, providing a safe, secure and therapeutic environment for patients with dementia, their family and staff to visit. Educational twilight bat walks have been run since 2016, providing a unique experience to a UK endangered species. A garden is currently being developed, designed for patients visiting the cancer unit. All projects have only occurred through the dedication of volunteers, with 100% charitable funding.
This is a fine example of how collaborative working on an NHS Forest site can effect positive change. More details abotu the project can be found in the case study case study write up.
How much carbon do we save?
Workign with estimated numbes, we have calcuated a rough carbon sink, equating to 700 tonnes over the trees’ lifespan and around 5 tonnes of carbon offset per year.