National gardener and broadcaster Mr Alan Titchmarsh took part of the ‘greening’ of a historic street, digging in the last of 48 trees that have been planted around the site of the recently rebuilt Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Fitzrovia’s Bolsover Street.
The trees were planted as part of the NHS Forest project, an exciting national programme which aims to improve the health of staff, patients and communities through increasing access to green space on or near to NHS land. The target is to plant one tree per NHS employee, over 1.3 million trees!
He was joined by local school children, patients and staff from the hospital and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Judith Warner who all attended the tree-planting ceremony, with the mayor unveiling a special plaque to mark the occasion. The trees will soften Bolsover Street's tough and hard-built environment and fits in with the local community’s efforts to line the entire length of the street with trees by creating a green pedestrian corridor from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to Regents Park. It also returns two elm trees to the street - last present in the 1850s.
Helen Duncan, senior sister, said: “Planting trees along Bolsover Street has enhanced our outlook from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital’s Outpatient Assessment Centre. Working in an environment where there is some greenery is a big improvement to our surroundings, which will not only benefit our staff but patients visiting the centre as well.”
The Bolsover Street project is part of the NHS Forest - an exciting new national project coordinated by The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH) and partly funded by the Forestry Commission’s Big Tree Plant Campaign. This innovative project is set to increase the accessibility of green space on NHS estates bringing health benefits to staff, patients and the local community by creating wooded areas for people’s exercise and relaxation.
“We are delighted that the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital has joined the NHS Forest project” said Rachel Stancliffe, Director of CSH, “Not only is this good for patients and staff at Bolsover Street, we hope this captures the imagination of communities in the area and sparks further tree planting at healthcare sites across London"
Studies have shown that the presence of trees can improve people’s mental and physical wellbeing. Even patients in hospital who just have a view of trees through their window can benefit, as they actually make quicker recoveries. One patient commented that “It’s refreshing to have trees breaking-up the street scene, particularly in a built-up area.”
The project was made possible through the generous support of the W1W Tree Planting Initiative made up of locals (residents, medical practices and businesses), Westminster Tree Trust and Westminster City Council.
To find out more visit the Bolsover Street NHS Forest page