Today, March 26, is NHS Sustainability Day – a chance to celebrate the importance of sustainable development, champion green initiatives and raise awareness at Oxford Health.
Over 800 trees are planted across the trust’s sites, absorbing over 38 tons of carbon annually – helping to offset Oxford Health’s overall carbon footprint.
As part of a national initiative trust board members planted four trees to mark the occasion, funded by Oxford Health Charity through NHS Charities Together. The selected locations were surveyed by specialist Arborists to recommend the best trees.
Chief executive Dr Nick Broughton planted a sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) at Littlemore Mental Health Centre – a big tree with star shaped leaves which will transform into warm red and orange tones in autumn. A tiny forest, the size of a tennis court, is planned to complement this later in the year.
Nick said: “The NHS have a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and we must do all we can to support that.
“Today, as I and my colleagues from the Board plant these four beautiful trees at Oxford Health sites, we appreciate our invaluable green spaces and the impact nature can have on our wellbeing, and most importantly our patients wellbeing and their recovery.”
Trust Chair David Walker planted an Alnus glutinosa imperialis, commonly known as a Cut Leaved Alder, at the Whiteleaf Centre, which will join the rest of the of alders and field maples on the site.
Chief Nurse Marie Crofts was accompanied by psychiatrist Catriona Mellor and other members of staff to plant a Chinese red birch at Marlborough House in Swindon. Nature has a significant role in patient’s recovery at Marlborough House, working closely with the Families in the Wild initiative run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. To be part of this exciting moment, a young patient read a poem whilst the tree was watered, to commemorate the occasion.
The fourth tree, an Acer Brandywine, was planted at Warneford Hospital by Director of Corporate Affairs & Company Secretary Kerry Rogers and Head of Charity and Involvement Julie Pink.
With all four trees funded by Oxford Health Charity through NHS Charities Together, this particular tree stands proudly near the Oxford Health Charity hub.
It has a special dedication to Captain Sir Tom Moore and all those whose tremendous efforts and generosity have supported our staff through the pandemic.
Julie commented: “Oxford Health Charity is so very proud to support NHS Sustainability Day and provide funding to add these beautiful trees to our sites across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. The tree planted close to our Charity Hub at the Warneford on this day carries a dual purpose – to recognise the importance of green spaces and to commemorate the amazing gifts all NHS Trusts have received from donors during the pandemic through NHS Charities Together, not least Captain Tom.
“This is our Tree for Tom and will stand as a legacy to his commitment to give back and support those in need.”
NHS Charities Together, added: “This is such as lovely initiative and a wonderful way to both show gratitude to Captain Sir Tom Moore and make a positive step on sustainability in the NHS. We know from our appeal that trees and green spaces provide a vital, natural escape for NHS staff and volunteers so I am sure these trees will be greatly appreciated by everyone who sees them and sits under them.”
Green spaces are good for mental health. People who spend at least two hours a week in nature experience better health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who do not visit nature at all during an average week.
Oxford Health Charity’s Green Spaces appeal, working with Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership, allows staff and patients to enjoy a variety of peaceful and therapeutic green spaces across our sites. The appeal works with volunteers, community and patient groups and staff to identify ways in which green spaces can be developed – from the Warneford Hospital and Littlemore Mental Health Centre Meadows, to bee borders at the Whiteleaf Centre and a Peace and Tranquillity Garden at Abingdon Community hospital there are plenty of opportunities to take a moment with nature.
On NHS Sustainability, we encourage you and those you care about to get in your green spaces (whilst following the latest COVID-19 guidelines).