CSH Awarded Green Recovery Challenge Funding for National Green Space for Health Programme

Thursday, 10 December, 2020

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare is expanding its Green Space for Health Programme with new funding from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. 

The grant, from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will allow CSH to increase tree planting across NHS sites as part of the NHS Forest and grow skills in this area. This flagship project consists of 200 health sites that have  planted over 65,000 trees, to provide carbon capture, shade and recreation. The new grant will also enable CSH to embed Nature Recovery Rangers at three NHS sites. The rangers will be working on green space conservation and restoration projects with a focus on connecting communities to natural surroundings. They will also train up apprentices working alongside them. In addition, the programme will provide therapeutic nature-based wellbeing sessions for health staff at five NHS sites, and will also train staff to run their own sessions.

Esther Coffin-Smith, Sustainable Development Manager at North Bristol NHS Trust, said:

“North Bristol NHS Trust is thrilled at the success of the funding bid and being one of the sites to host a Nature Recovery Ranger.  This new support will allow us to make even greater progress with our Biodiversity Management Plan and engagement with staff, patients and visitors on the value to health from green spaces and growing.  We have been working with the NHS Forest scheme over the past 6 years and are proud of the resulting increase in the tree coverage across our 19 acre site.” 

Lime Tree Park North Bristol NHS Trust


Ian Stenton, Head of Sustainability at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"We’re delighted to be part of this collaborative programme with the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. We’ve worked with them over a number of years and look forward to learning more from other NHS partners about how to best use green space for the benefit of our patients, staff and local communities. Having access to a qualified ranger will allow us to build upon our existing green space engagement projects and ensure that we create a lasting legacy of empowered groups who utilise our green assets to the maximum."

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund supports projects that can implement nature-based solutions and connect people with the natural world. Chosen projects must be aligned with the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP) goals, which the GreenSpace for Health Programme will contribute to the delivery of.

“CSH has worked for over a decade with health sites that want to make the most of their green space for the benefit of patients, staff and the wider community, while also improving their biodiversity and taking action on climate change. There is huge interest in this area, and we are very excited to have received this funding which will allow us to expand the NHS Forest and begin two brand new collaborative projects with NHS partners.”

- Carey Newson, Green Space Programme Lead at the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare

North Bristol NHS trust


The natural environment is at risk as a result of climate change, pollution, deforestation and significant changes in land use. The NHS is one of the UK’s largest environmental polluters and is responsible for an estimated 5% of the country’s carbon footprint. The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare inspires and empowers people to transform healthcare for a sustainable future. It collaborates with partners inside and outside healthcare to engage professionals, patients and the wider community in understanding the connections between health and environment, and to reduce healthcare’s footprint. The Centre’s Green Space for Health Programme encourages NHS sites to realise the potential of their green space for the health of both people and planet. 

Ginnie Abubakar, Community Engagement Manager at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, said:

"We are delighted to be working with CSH on this project.  As the amount of evidence continues to build on just how important outdoor space is to both physical and mental health, we are extremely excited to be involved in a project that looks to maximise the use of the green space, on our doorstep for the benefit of both staff and patient wellbeing.  The post at Mount Vernon will be pivotal in finding the best ways to engage people in nature as part of their working life or treatment and recovery" 

Mount Vernon Hospital Volunteers



CSH has worked extensively with UK hospitals in the past by supporting work to improve green space. These improvements benefit the wellbeing of people (both staff and patients) and the environment. The Green Space for Health Programme will set a new benchmark in the field of sustainable healthcare, encouraging further development towards the net zero goal

“I’m so delighted that this fantastic programme has been funded. The NHS Forest has always been popular, and this grant will enable the team to reach many more sites, to create green jobs and to deepen the impact on nature and on health and wellbeing at a critical time for both the environment and the NHS.” - Rachel Stancliffe, Founder and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. 

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is funded by Defra and is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.