As well as the planting of wildflowers in the grounds of Cirencester Hospital and fruit bushes outside Stroud Maternity unit, staff from across Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust were encouraged to grow their own fruit and vegetables with a salad seed giveaway.
NHS Sustainability Day on Thursday 27 March is a nationwide event which challenges trusts to think about how to reduce carbon emissions and support a more sustainable healthcare system.
Georgina Smith, corporate social responsibility manager at the Trust, said: “As a trust we are committed to sustainability and that has to be a collective effort. We encourage all our staff to play their part – whether it’s turning off computers, monitors and lights or walking or cycling to work.
“This year we decided to focus on growing and encouraging staff to grow their own vegetables – doing so not only reduces the carbon footprint associated with transport and food packaging it also provides an opportunity to get active and spend time outdoors whilst growing them!”
Cirencester Hospital celebrated NHS Sustainability Day with its green gym volunteers and local primary school children who planted wildflower meadows at the hospital and nearby Four Acre field.
The hospital is part of the NHS Forest, a nationwide initiative to improve access to green space, add trees to NHS land and promote community involvement with the health service and runs a ‘Green Gym’ in partnership with UK-wide charity The Conservation Volunteers, which involves the community in are tree-planting and landscaping. The ‘Green Gym’ is a partnership, with Cirencester Town Council, Cotswold Volunteers, the League of Friends and Gardens for All working with the Trust to make it a success.
More than 700 trees have been planted since 2010 and the hospital hosts ‘Apple Days’ with local schools where pupils create bee houses to explain the importance of pollination, collect and press apples into apple juice and help make smoothies with a bicycle-powered blender.
Trust chair Ingrid Barker was at the maternity unit opposite Stroud Hospital in the afternoon to help plant fruit bushes in preparation for the site joining the NHS Forest scheme with the support of Edible Stroud – part of the Transition Stroud network which promotes a low-carbon lifestyle.
Josie Cowgill from Edible Stroud said: “We approached Gloucestershire Care Services about growing fruit bushes and trees on land by Stroud Maternity Unit and are delighted that the Trust embraced the idea. This is a great project and highlights what can be achieved when the NHS works together with its local community.”
Gloucestershire charity Vision 21, which runs gardening, recycling and furniture reclamation projects in the county, manned stands at the event at Cirencester and also at the Trust’s headquarters in Brockworth on Wednesday 26 March to answer staff questions about growing vegetables.
Photograph: Two pupils from Chesterton Primary School planting a witch hazel tree at the NHS Forest Green Gym at Cirencester Hospital