University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) is the leading university teaching hospital in the West Midlands. It provides a full range of services, has a large renal 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.
In October 2014, it was awarded the NHS Forest Award for the Most NHS Forest Trees Planted during the previous season.
250 saplings were planted in February 2015 as well as 120 fruit trees. That takes our orchards to four with some 140 fruit trees in them. The majority a are mix of eating and cooking apples, 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 wildflower 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, polytunnels and a wildlife pond.