We certainly had a fantastic day at the NHS Forest Conference, it was great to see so many health and green space professionals in one place having some lively discussions and developing partnerships. We are hugely grateful to University Hospital Birmingham for hosting the event and providing us with an inspiring tour of their site and all the work they have done there. Lots of ideas have been generated!
The day started off with an introduction from Tim Jones, Executive Director of Delivery at University Hospital, Birmingham showing their support for the NHS Forest project and outlining all the hard work Antony Cobley has put in greening their site.
Next was a presentation from Sarah Dandy, NHS Forest Coordinator updating us about the achievements in 2015 including a new green health route and reaching a total of 38,000 trees planted in the NHS Forest!
Carl Petrokofsky, specialist in public health, Public Health England, gave us a detailed insight into the evidence base of the benefits to health from using green space, the need for more trees to stop hospitals overheating and the importance of exercising in green space. Dr Petrokofsky also outlined some of the work that Public Health England is doing in this area.
The presentations finished off with Georgina Smith from Gloucestershire Care NHS Foundation Trust outlining all the great work that they have done over the last five years at their NHS Forest sites including their green gym activities, school children engaging in orchard planting and cooking apples, and providing the opportunity for the local community to learn horticultural activities on an NHS Forest site.
The workshop that followed provided an ideal opportunity to encourage discussions and design "an NHS Forest site". Some of the ideas presented included a bee garden, orchards, river walks and the chance to learn horticultural skills. The practicalities of running health walks were identified as was the importance of involving different stakeholder groups. One table created a diagram representing the different cultural and behaviour changes that need to take place to engage people in green space. Finally, various financial and time barriers were discussed and solutions presented.
After lunch and a tour of the NHS Forest site at University Hospital Birmingham, the award ceremony began with presentations from Tim Jones.
We are delighted to announce the following winners:
- Largest Number of Trees planted in 2015: Health Education East of England
- Most Innovative Site: South Central Ambulance Service
- Most Pioneering Use of Green Space by a Healthcare Professional: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Congratulations to all our winners.
We hope to see you at the NHS Forest Conference 2016 which will be held at the Countess of Chester Hospital! To register interest in attending next years conference please contact us here