Celebrating nature on World Environment Day!

Celebrating nature on World Environment Day!

On World Environment Day we recognise the benefits of nature on mental health with the aim to grow Oxford Health’s green spaces.

Oxford Health has more than 80 hectares of green spaces, equivalent to 150 football pitches, across our 150 sites.

Not only that, there are 35 different species of trees among the 800 across our estate, absorbing over 16 tons of carbon annually – helping to offset the Trust’s overall carbon footprint.

The trust has developed a partnership with Oxford-based Earthwatch Europe which undertakes research projects within the community to help the environment.

Plans are being developed to plant a tiny forest at Littlemore Mental Health Centre. This super tiny, l forest is a is dense fast-growing native woodland, made up of 600 trees on a tennis court sized plot.

It has the potential to attract over 500 animals and plant species in just three years. The aim, as with all our green spaces, will be the opportunity to reconnect with nature, provide a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere and improving mental health.

Green spaces have a positive impact on mental health and at Oxford Health our green spaces appeal provides invaluable support to patients, staff and visitors. 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.

Benefits of getting outside to enjoy green spaces and nature include:

  • Improve your mood
  • Reduce feelings of stress or anger
  • Help you take time out
  • Feel more relaxed
  • Improve your physical health
  • Improve your confidence and self-esteem
  • Help you be more active
  • Help you make new connections

John Upham, Sustainability Manager, commented: “Oxford Health has a responsibility to contribute to the NHS target of net zero carbon emissions by 2040. The plans to reach this target include biodiversity and offsetting carbon by planting trees.

“Every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch. World Environment Day acknowledges the small actions everyone can take – growing trees, rewilding gardens and looking after the green spaces around us for #GenerationRestoration.

“We should celebrate our green spaces and how these benefit both our physical and mental health & wellbeing.”

The Oxford Health Charity’s Green Spaces appeal, working with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership as part of the Green Spaces framework, supports the Trust’s contribution to grow our green spaces and importantly helping people’s mental health through taking part in creating and nurturing the green spaces as well as spending time to enjoy them.

The appeal works with volunteers, community and patient groups and staff to identify ways in which green spaces can be developed. Take a look at our most recent addition, the Peace and Tranquillity Garden at Abingdon Community Hospital here.

Find out more about the Oxford Health Charity’s Green Spaces appeal here.

Published: 4 June 2021