Patients and service users plant 105 trees, courtesy of the Woodland Trust

Service users from St Andrew's Healthcare and Workbridge have been getting their hands dirty for the last few weeks, planting trees on behalf of the Woodland Trust.

105 trees were donated to the charity as part of a community scheme, which aims to encourage wildlife while helping to combat climate change and improve air quality. Since the Woodland Trust was established in 1972, they’ve planted more than 47 million trees, and 105 will shortly be growing tall on the grounds of our Northampton hospital.

Daniel Bell, a Specialist Technical Instructor for Workbridge, explained: "The aim with this project is to create a small area of scrubland on part of the grounds, as although we are very lucky on the Northampton site to have so many old trees, wildlife really needs a far greater variety of habitat if it is to thrive. Scrub is a hugely important habitat, as it provides nectar, seeds, fruit, shelter and nesting sites for all sorts of insects, birds and mammals. Some birds, such as yellow hammers, dunnocks, song thrushes and bullfinches prefer scrubby areas over anything else for nesting. Certain butterfly species will feed on scrubland trees as caterpillars and then as adults on the flowers. In turn, caterpillars and other insects provide food for birds such as blue tits, vital during the nesting season.

"I hope that not only will the scrub area provide real benefit to wildlife but that patients and service users walking about the site will get chance to see the trees as they grow, and find some interesting wildlife in the years to come. Although it’s a bit tucked out of the way, the scrub area links nicely in with the Nature Trail! Some of the tree saplings have already been planted with help from Ashby ward and the comments were really positive. Even though it will take several years to fully establish, the guys that helped appreciated the importance of planting these trees."

Many thanks to the Woodland Trust, who provided us with a Community Tree Pack, and Dave Harrison, Grounds Manager at St Andrew’s Healthcare for his support of the project.