Airedale General Hospital joined the NHS Forest in 2009 as a pilot site. Tree planting in 2009 was just the start of the great work at the site, and in subsequent years more trees were planted and a dementia garden was established.
This West Yorkshire site is relatively developed in terms of both buildings and services. It includes an A&E Department and a maternity ward. It treats 25,000 inpatients, 26,000 non-elective patients and 150,000 outpatients each year with the help of 2,900 staff and 400 volunteers. Tree cover is relatively sparse, although there are a number of older trees throughout the site including oak and sycamore, protected with Tree Preservation Orders. There are several larger areas of open ground to the west of the site, including helicopter landings, agricultural fields and reinstated grassland used during the development of on-site accommodation units.
This planting scheme will
- Improve aesthetics of the area
- Develop a landscape which is easier to maintain
- Increase carbon dioxide absorption
- Improve biodiversity and tree coverage on site
- Involve local schools and community groups in the planting
- Deliver potential health improvements
- Increase understanding of work of the trust
On NHS Sustainability Day 2014, Airedale Hospital Trust planted 323 trees. In April of that year, it began building a dementia garden as part of an integral part of a dementia ward garden design. The first phase was completed in August. See the NHS Forest’s case study on the dementia garden for further information and advice on how to replicate this idea.
Since then, Airedale has developed a mini nursery and a wellbeing farm.
In 2021, they won the NHS Forest Award for Nature Recovery.
Photos: Airedale General Hospital. All rights reserved