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What's New

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham has a new orchard

We’ve put down roots in Birmingham as its biggest hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, becomes home to the very first Helping Britain Blossom community orchard in the city.

We joined forces with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), as part of the Big Tree Plant, and planted over 120 new apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees in Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham’s (QEHB) Community Orchard and Gardens helped by over 50 green-fingered volunteers.

The Community Orchard and Gardens at the hospital are the brainchild of Antony Cobley, senior HR manager and equality and diversity lead at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust which runs QEHB.

Members of the local community, hospital staff, university students and generous volunteers from across the city came along to help plant the new fruit trees in a number of groups at the hospital grounds on Saturday 21 February, and Sunday 22 February.

It will bring together a variety of community groups and organisations to take ownership of unused areas on the Queen Elizabeth site to improve the land for all. By using the land in more creative and sustainable ways, the orchard will not only benefit staff and patients but the wider community.

“The idea for the project is to give people somewhere to get away from it all for a few minutes of peace and quiet, whether they are staff or patients,” said Antony.

“We have purposefully planted British fruit varieties and those which are from the Midlands.” he added.

“This is a long-term project. It will be four or five years before we start cropping decent amounts of fruit, but the beauty of it is that a well-managed orchard will then go on for decades helping patients at the hospitals and local people.”

The produce coming from the orchard will be used to help people in the local area, to teach them how to grow, tend, cook and prepare food and it will all be donated to benefit the community.

Rob Tilling, regional project manager at Helping Britain Blossom for Birmingham, said:

“For some communities in Birmingham, there’s little or no access to green space. Orchards are a great way of bringing locals together. A community orchard isn’t just a collection of trees, it’s a community of people working together to make the local area a better place to live, work and enjoy.”

To find out more or to get involved in future activities at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham’s Community Orchard and Gardens, email: orchard@uhb.nhs.uk

 

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Why Orchards Orchards have played an important role in our communities for hundreds of years, providing a communal space for gatherings and celebrations. Find an Orchard Our ambition by 2017 is to help 100 communities to plant, care for and restore their own orchards. And to get things going, we're focusing on cities and towns in seven parts of the UK