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Wooden Wellbeing Garden All Welcome in a wild flower meadow at Penntorr Health Centre

CHP Sustainability Update for Tenants – Green Space and Biodiversity March 2024

The CHP Green Plan A Greener CHP, a Greener NHS  (PDF) outlines our work with NHS customers, LIFTCos, ICSs, and suppliers to support the NHS goal of becoming the world’s first net zero healthcare system. As part of the NHS family, we recognise the significant role healthcare estates and facilities play, contributing roughly 15% of the NHS carbon footprint.

To achieve this goal, we must work together on carbon reduction, sustainability initiatives, and fostering biodiversity around our healthcare buildings. Supporting biodiversity further enhances patient care, staff and patient wellbeing, and public health by promoting a connection with nature and improving air quality.

Green spaces and biodiversity support health and wellbeing

Climate change is a profound threat to human health. But it’s less well known that an equally devastating biodiversity crisis is unfolding, where the numbers and variety of plants, animals and other organisms are plummeting.

Biodiversity: the variety of plant and animal life in the world or a particular habitat. Biodiversity refers to the variety of living species on Earth, including plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi. The more species that exist in an area or ecosystem, the more biodiverse it is. This complexity and diversity create healthy ecosystems. 

Green Spaces: These can be gardens for rest and recovery; woodland, hedgerows and meadows that create habitats for wildlife and social spaces for people; and growing space for fruit and vegetables. No space is too small to create or enhance green space – from window boxes to wildflower meadows. 

Benefits for people and the planet: increasing green space reduces the impact of our changing climate – more natural vegetation, trees and plants have been shown to provide localised cooling effects and reduce flood risk. More permeable land (less tarmac and concrete) helps to reduce surface runoff and the risk of flooding, especially in urban areas.

‘Biodiversity is key to the survival of life on Earth. Its loss deprives future generations of irreplaceable genetic information and compromises sustainability.’

How CHP supports health and community with green spaces

CHP supports many gardening projects across its healthcare buildings. These projects include raised beds, courtyard gardens, wildflowers, vegetable patches, and comfortable seating areas.

CHP’s local Property and Operations teams work with healthcare staff, social prescribing teams, local charities, and volunteer groups alongside our LIFTco partners.

Benefits of participating in a gardening project include:

  • Physical exercise: Working in the garden promotes physical activity, improving overall health and wellbeing.
  • Mental relaxation: Immersion in nature provides a calming escape, reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Sense of purpose: Contributing to a shared project fosters a sense of accomplishment and belonging.
  • Supportive community: The gardens become a hub for social interaction, reducing feelings of isolation.

By promoting sustainability and fostering a sense of community, these gardens and outdoor spaces become havens for holistic health improvement, benefiting patients, NHS staff, volunteers, and the environment.

Social Prescribing

Social prescribing is a healthcare approach that involves connecting patients with non-medical resources to improve their overall health and well-being. It recognises that health is influenced by a range of social, economic, and environmental factors. Volunteer gardening perfectly fits into this concept, as it provides patients with an opportunity to engage in meaningful activities that contribute positively to their physical, mental, and emotional health.

Community Health Partnerships supports many social prescribing initiatives at our healthcare sites as part of CHP’s Buildings at the Heart of the Community initiative.

CHP Biodiversity projects: edible gardens, wildlife and wildflower projects

Our Operations and Relationship Managers (ORM) facilitated and supported these projects working with LIFTcos and tenants to enhance biodiversity providing benefits for patients, staff, volunteers, and the environment. 

The projects at Briercliffe Medical Centre in Burnley are one of the sustainability initiatives One Partnership (LIFTCo) has implemented using its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds alongside projects at Croft Shifa. Rochdale and Breightmet Health Centre, Bolton. 

Tenants at The Energise Centre in Salford revamped the courtyard space to create a community wellness garden and the next area was a patch of ground for vegetable growing; MaST (LIFTCo) provided the Growing Together Gardening group with £500 to help with the project.

Bird box at Briercliffe Medical Centre Burnley
Hedgehog House at Briercliffe Medical Centre Burnley
Wild flower border at Briercliffe Medical Centre
'Grow Together Gardening Group' at The Energise Centre, Salford

How CHP tenants can get involved

By prioritising these biodiversity practices, CHP tenants can contribute to environmental sustainability, support a Greener NHS (www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/) and set an example for the local community.

Read more:

  • The NHS Forest is an alliance of health sites working to transform their green space to realise its full potential for health, wellbeing and biodiversity, and to encourage engagement with nature. It is run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, an independent UK charity, as part of its Green Space for Health programme.
Wooden Wellbeing Garden All Welcome in a wild flower meadow at Penntorr Health Centre

CHP needs your ideas to promote biodiversity

Have you got ideas or suggestions for gardens, planters and increasing green space at your site? Speak to your ORM and get in touch and let us know.  

Please email the description and photos to sustainability@communityhealthpartnerships and copy in your ORM.

Recent Garden Projects at CHP Buildings

Contact the Sustainability Team at CHP

If you are a tenant, an ICS or Trust partner, and want to know more about how CHP can support your sustainability plans, please contact your local CHP Property and Operations team or our CHP Sustainability team.

If any tenants have questions about Sustainability at CHP, our Green plan or any other net zero project please contact the Sustainability team via sustainability@communityhealthpartnerships.co.uk and copy in the ORM for your building.

Sustainability at CHP

As part of the NHS family, CHP supports the NHS ambition to deliver the world’s first net zero health system. Sustainable Facilities are one of our five strategic aims and Sustainability is one of our four corporate social responsibility pillars. Aligning with the NHS target of achieving Net Zero Carbon by 2040, the team at CHP are committed to achieve Net Zero Carbon for the LIFT estate by 2040 and 2030 for our corporate functions.

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