University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP), Joint Hospital Group (South West) (JHG (SW)), and Grown That Way, which is part of a third sector group of organisations “Together We Can Succeed,” signed a historic partnership agreement together on the 23 March 2023.
Representatives from each organisation met at the offices of JHG (SW) at Plymouth Science Park to sign an agreement that promises to develop green thinking across the organisations and how a joint approach can support staff, public and natural capital gains into the future.
The purpose of the partnership is to aid each organisation to reach Climate Change and Sustainability goals and support the UK Government’s target of net zero by 2050. In addition to this, it aims to assist UHP in gaining ‘Green flag status.’
Wendy Reynolds, Project Support Manager at UHP said: "Part of our green plan, we've been looking to establish collaborative social change ventures with other local organisations, and this certainly fits the bill.
“Ensuring the trust is resilient to a changing climate and continuing to invest in adaptation and mitigation measures. We are looking to achieve a 10% biodiversity net gain by 2025, and this collaboration will go some way in helping us towards this."
The Orchard is the first project of this collaboration and is situated on the grounds of Derriford Hospital to create a sustainable garden space that is accessible for all.
Martin Armstrong, Head of Facilities at UHP said: “What a great pleasure it is to be involved with The Orchard Project in collaboration with the Joint Hospital Group and Grown That Way.
“It is a great benefit for the Trust, particularly when you consider its proximity to the Emergency Department. It will be a good facility for both patients, staff and visitors. So, I'm really looking forward to seeing how this project materialises over the coming months.”
The Orchard Project also offers the civilian recognised qualification ‘National Volunteer Certificate’ for all participants that meet the required voluntary hours. Becky Smith, Volunteer Services Manager at UHP said: “It is really exciting that we have got volunteer engagement as part of this project. It means that we can make sure that The Orchard flourishes as we are going forward, and it’s well looked after.
“This project will also mean that volunteers can earn the National Volunteer Certificate, an accredited award after doing 60 hours and some training so that then they can take that on with their CV job applications and further.”
Kenny Raybould, Director of Grown That Way said: “It was a really great day with three uniquely different organisations coming together, the health sector, the military and the third sector. We want to support nature, healthcare staff and patients to have a better greener future environment.
“Preventative healthcare is a powerful tool, and we need our public spaces to offer the best they can from great food, cleaner air, biodiversity growth and spaces to decompress.
“Part of this kick start is the organisations coming together to work on seeding and expanding the current orchard site. Greater tree coverage, wildflowers and growing spaces while monitoring the space as we grow together.
“We are working together to offer garden days to staff and volunteers to help increase the green quality on site while sharing resources.
JHG (SW)’s First Lieutenant Aaron Wilding adds: “We are delighted to be able to be working in partnership with Grown That Way and our local NHS Trust, especially on The Orchard Project and other green spaces.
“This enables us to assist in increasing the biodiversity around our local sites and using our staff for their mental wellbeing and resilience as well, giving them time away from their arduous clinical shifts and enjoying some time outside among nature physical activities that benefit the local population and nature.”