Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
5:00 PM 2nd December 2020

Hospital Meadow Benefits Pollinators And Patients

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has partnered with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust to help create a new courtyard garden and meadow at Airedale Hospital.

Catherine Mercer (left) and Penny Collinson (right) with Steve Marshall and the gardening team at the hospital.
Catherine Mercer (left) and Penny Collinson (right) with Steve Marshall and the gardening team at the hospital.
As part of the Trust’s Bee Together project, a programme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players, bee-friendly garden plants and native wildflowers have been planted to create spaces that people and wildlife can enjoy.

Studies show that hospital patients recover more quickly when given access to green space - and staff at the hospital will benefit from it too.

YDMT’s Catherine Mercer
YDMT’s Catherine Mercer
Bee Together Project Officer Catherine Mercer said:
“The garden is used by staff and visitors, so it has been great to help create a space that both they and wildlife can enjoy.

“I am hopeful that the garden and meadow will bring joy to staff and patients at Airedale Hospital for many years to come. It has been great to do our own bit to support the NHS, particularly during this very difficult time.”

Work on the meadow has continued over the last month with head gardener Steve Marshall organising the turf to be stripped and the planting of plug plants such as red clover, oxeye daisy and knapweed.

The excess turf will also be used to build a bee bank for nesting solitary bees and there are plans to grow plug plants on in the hospital greenhouse.

Penny Collinson
Penny Collinson
Penny Collinson, Patient Flow Assistant from Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, based in the Patient Reception Centre at Airedale Hospital, added:
“When I began work at Airedale, I seized the opportunity to support the Bee Together project. I thought that if I developed one of the inner courtyard gardens this could highlight the plight of pollinators and also showcase how the grounds of the hospital are changing.

“These natural spaces are for the local community; and I hope that the habitats being created can be used for physical and mental health projects in the future."

It is hoped work will be completed by Spring 2021.

The Bee Together project seeks to create a corridor of these important habitats between Leeds and Lancaster, contributing to a national network of 'B-Lines' mapped by Buglife.

B-Lines are a series of ‘insect pathways’ running through our countryside and towns. Buglife are working with a number of partners to restore and create wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones – ideal for pollinators like bees and butterflies and a host of other wildlife.

This B-line crosses the Yorkshire Dales, the Aire Valley and Lancashire and will help pollinators expand into new locations and move from area to area across a network of new habitats.

This project has been generously supported by John Chambers Wildflower Seed, who have donated a custom mix of native wildflower seed to create this meadow and many others.