University Hospital Coventry is a leading UK hospital known for its success in heart, diabetes, kidney transplants, strokes and IVF. The trust joined the NHS Forest in 2009 during its pilot phase.
The hospital was chosen to be one of two Big Lottery-funded projects, known as Outer Space, because of the multiple opportunities here for health and wellbeing activities that would benefit hospital patients, staff, visitors and the community.
The hospital site contains a wetland area called the Swales, which forms part of the surface water drainage system. The site borders and drains into the River Sowe and benefits from this and its location at the edge of the hospital grounds by being a relatively peaceful spot. The area was already a very rich natural habitat, with some simple mown paths around the pools, before the Outer Space project began.
The initial work involved improving access, general seasonal maintenance, the installation of benches and signage and a wildlife and species survey carried out by schools and community groups. Some beautiful sculptures, designed with the help of local school children, were recently erected, along with signs directing people to the reserve.
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust promoted the project and have developed further opportunities for individual and group participation. Health walks and yoga sessions have taken place and there are plans to create a Remember and Reflect walk that will reflect the highs and lows of life. The site has become a much-loved feature of the hospital, and is used by patients, staff, schools and the local community.
University Hospital Coventry was used as a case study in a film about the NHS Forest:
In 2014, the trust took part in the NHS Forest’s two trees at 2 o’clock event by planting trees in Jubilee Reserve, while an event took place in the hospital’s main reception area on sustainable travel, energy saving and waste. For NHS Sustainability Day 2015, the hospital again took part in the two at 2 o’clock tree planting with their partner school Walsgrave Church of England Primary School. The two trees were planted with great enthusiasm by the school’s Eco-Team; the boys planted an oak and the girls planted a maple.
The art pieces for the nature reserve were produced by sculptor Alan Ross, the metal screen was based on designs submitted by Pearl Hyde Primary School and Foxford Secondary School in Coventry and includes much-loved local icon Lady Godiva.