The Bee Healthy project was developed as a partnership between Wild Oxfordshire, the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment and the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. The project helped GP surgeries to create borders with nectar-rich herbaceous perennials. These are attractive to bumblebees and other pollinators and also benefit patients, staff and visitors. The project was supported by Smiths of Bletchington, Postcode Local Trust, a grant giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
How has the Bee Healthy project helped?
In autumn 2019, Bee Healthy successfully created bee-friendly green spaces at Summertown Health Centre and St. Bartholomew’s Medical Centre in Oxford and Windrush Medical Practice in Witney, Oxfordshire. Each green space was created with around 15 different plant species. Early analysis of these green spaces has shown positive results in terms of attracting pollinators. Observations detected the presence of the seven most common species of bumblebees at these sites as well as other pollinators such as honeybees, butterflies, moths, solitary bees and beetles. The Bee Healthy gardens are an inspiring example of how small urban green spaces can contribute to expanding the availability of food for pollinators.
The Bee Healthy gardens have also been important for the wellbeing of humans. Specifically, these spaces have been very popular among NHS staff working during the Coronavirus pandemic:
“The bee garden is a source of great enjoyment every morning when we come into the surgery. Lots of people have commented on the flowers appearing. Especially in these strange times, it provides a nice distraction and a reminder of the natural world, oblivious to it all.” – GP, Summertown Health Centre
We’ve also created the Bee Healthy Project Guide to share our experiences. It outlines our experiences with establishing Bee Healthy at these three locations and provides practical information for community organisations such as NHS health centres, community centres, schools, places of worship and others that wish to create their own Bee Healthy plant borders.
Prescribing Green Space – is it important? NHS Forest
Health benefits of natural environments rich in wildlife: A literature review for The Wildlife Trusts. Dr Rachel Bragg, Dr Carly Wood, Dr Jo Barton and Professor Jules Pretty
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To find more opportunities for care farming