blank
Connect with us

Environment

Green zone created outside Morriston Hospital

Published

on

A green oasis giving staff, patients and visitors a chance to escape to the country has been unveiled in the grounds of Morriston Hospital.

What was previously an unremarkable grass verge has been transformed into an amazing space with a grass-roofed roundhouse at its heart.

It opens on to a wildflower-lined, open-air corridor with seating where people can enjoy some precious moments of tranquillity.

Similar greening initiatives are taking place across Swansea Bay hospitals and dozens of other health board sites at a cost of £1.28 million – the majority of it funded by the Welsh Government.

It’s all thanks to Biophilic Wales, a collaboration headed by the National Botanic Garden of Wales, with Swansea Bay University Health Board, Swansea University and Natural Resources Wales.

Officially opening the new roundhouse: l-r Swansea Bay UHB Chair Emma Woollett, Deb Lewis, National Botanic Garden of Wales Director Huw Francis and Biophilic Wales Project Manager Kathryn Thomas (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Biophilic Wales has three main themes; Grasslands for Life, Plants for People, and Inspiring Spaces.

Swansea Bay’s involvement has been with Inspiring Spaces, which uses sites owned by the health board as focal points for green projects which have been co-developed with the local community.

Advertisement

Des Keighan, the health board’s Assistant Director of Operations, Estates, said there were spaces available that had not been used effectively.

“During the pandemic staff didn’t want to go to the break-out spaces provided because of the restrictions,” he said.

“Having somewhere in the grounds were they can sit and reflect away from the hurly-burly of the hospital is a big improvement for them but also gives patients somewhere to sit and reflect too.”

Advertisement

The roundhouse is a large gazebo made of solid wood with a grass roof and benches where people can sit if it’s raining.

Advertisement

It’s located to the left of the road leading up from the hospital lower entrance to the multi-storey car park.

There is also a walkway heading downhill, bordered on each side by railway sleepers with benches in.

“People can sit inside there and it almost forms a tunnel effect with either side having soil banks that have been planted with wild flowers,” said Mr Keighan.

“When you’re sat in the seat, you’re screened from the hospital and the noise of the road.

“It’s not fully grown yet and there will be hedges along the top of the sleepers as well to protect people. So it’s a space away from the hospital that allows you to feel a bit closer to nature.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Morriston Hospital Service Director Deb Lewis said it had been difficult a year ago to envisage what it would look like. The end result, she said, was absolutely phenomenal.

“Those of us who have worked in Morriston over the last 18 months know the challenges we faced providing staff and patients with break-out areas,” Mrs Lewis added.

“Social distancing has been hugely challenging in the areas that we did have. Providing a space like this is fantastic. I know it will be really appreciated by staff and patients.”

Advertisement

Advertisement

Biophilic Wales is funded by the Welsh Government, which awarded a grant of just under £1 million for the Swansea Bay project.

This was match-funded by staff time donated by the health board, the university and Natural Resources Wales, as well as the time donated by a small army of local volunteers who undertook the work.

They, along with Swansea Bay UHB’s gardening and environment teams, were thanked during the official launch of the green space there.

Health Board Chair, Emma Woollett officially opening the project (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Health Board Chair, Emma Woollett praised them for the imaginative way they had brought the project – the first of its kind in Wales – to life.

“Supporting well-being is absolutely fundamental to our staff and the patients that visit. It is also a positive experience for those who are involved in projects like this across our sites.

“This is all really important for us. It’s such an exciting project so thank you all very much indeed.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

The project, led by Dr Natasha de Vere, Head of Science at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, is serving as a pilot study that will help develop models that can be applied throughout Wales.

National Botanic Garden of Wales Director Huw Francis said it had been a real privilege to work on it.

“The importance to health and well-being of green spaces is increasingly recognised,” he said.

“The development of this area and the other green spaces the project has worked on will hopefully provide valuable places for respite, rehabilitation and recuperation for the staff of the NHS, the patients they care for and the family and friends who visit.

Advertisement

“We sincerely hope the green spaces that have been created will enhance the health and well-being of everyone who can make use of them, and support NHS staff as they undertake their essential and much-appreciated work.”

Swansea Bay Staff Experience and Organisational Development Manager Julie Lloyd was among the guests at the launch (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Green spaces large and small are being developed on a total of 40 health board sites across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

Biophilic Wales Project Manager Kathryn Thomas said every day she and the volunteers went out was an absolute pleasure.

“What we’re doing is just reinforcing that people are happier and healthier when they’re outside and working with nature. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to create these sites.”

The health board is already developing a full-scale solar farm to supply almost a quarter of Morriston Hospital’s power, cutting the electricity bill by around £500,000 a year and significantly reducing carbon emissions.

This is part of a £13.5 million investment in energy-saving and carbon-reduction measures across the health board estate.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Mr Keighan said: “It’s all part of the Future Generations Act, looking at how health interacts with the wider community and trying to make the space that we do have more useful.

“Where the roundhouse is located was just a green area that people drove past and didn’t think anything of.

“Now, it’s a space where staff and patients can retreat to and just have that little bit of stillness in what can be a very busy life.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Carmarthenshire

Residents encouraged to have say on Teifi Valley flooding schemes

Published

on

By

Consultation on flood prevention schemes by Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils in the Teifi Valley has been extended to August 31 to give more residents an opportunity to have their say.

Face-to-face events in Llandysul and Llynybydder have been added to the previous online only consultation.

Advertisement

Residents can visit the powerhouse in Llandysul on Wednesday 24 August between 10am and 1pm, or between 3pm and 6pm. There’s also an event at Llanybydder RFC on Thursday 25 August between 10am and 1pm, and also between 3pm and 6pm.

Officers from Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils and Natural Resources Wales will be in attendance to answer any queries along with a representative from the consultants appointed by both authorities.

The council’s say that all partners involved want to understand the impact that flooding has on communities, how the flooding happens and to assess different flood measures that will reduce the impact during increasingly stormy weather in the future.

People will be able to submit feedback in person by writing their comments down and putting them in the box located at the venues. This will be in addition to the comments and suggestions submitted during the online consultation process.

The councils say that feedback from the consultation and these events will feed into the next stage of work and form part of any decision making that Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government will undertake to design and implement any flood risk reduction scheme.

Advertisement

Carmarthenshire County Council’s  Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services Cllr Edward Thomas said: “We want as much feedback as possible from residents so that together we can look further into the options available to us to manage flood risk in these communities. The drop-in events will provide an opportunity for residents to speak to officers about the different options available and the next steps.”

Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management Keith Henson said: “We encourage the residents of Llandysul, Pont-Tyweli and Llanybydder to have their say in this consultation, either by attending the in-person events at the said locations or by visiting the online link on the council’s website. The responses from this consultation will enable us and our partners to explore what options we have to manage flood risk in the Teifi Valley.”

Lead image: Humphrey Bolton / Geograph)

Continue Reading

Environment

Swansea University named one of country’s best green spaces

Published

on

By

The spectacular and diverse grounds of Swansea University’s two campuses have once again been judged among the best green spaces in Wales.

The University is celebrating after being awarded a Green Flag, the international mark of a quality park or green space and recognises excellent visitor facilities, high environmental standards, and a commitment to delivering great quality green space.

Advertisement

It has also retained its Green Heritage Site Accreditation which it gained for the first time last year. This special award, endorsed by Cadw, recognises sites that are both historically significant and meet Green Flag criteria.

Grounds manager Paul Edwards paid tribute to his teams’ efforts at both University campuses: “We are immensely proud to have retained both the Green Flag and Heritage Award status. Our sites offer very different challenges and rewards and it is through the hard work and dedication of the team that both are to the highest standards for the enjoyment of our students, staff and visitors.

“The grounds team’s in-depth knowledge ensures that the historic nature of the Singleton site and the beachside setting of the Bay Campus will continue to be preserved and enhanced for future generations.”

Swansea University received a Green Flag Award for its two campuses

Swansea University Registrar and Chief Operating Officer Niamh Lamond said: “We are extremely pleased to have retained the Green Flag Award for five consecutive years. This recognises the hard work and commitment of our outstanding grounds’ team in developing and managing our green spaces in a sustainable manner, whilst appreciating the historic and scientific nature of these spaces.

“Our grounds and gardens are important to the wellbeing of our staff, students and local communities and valued immensely by the University.”

This year the University is among 265 green spaces – ranging from formal gardens and parks to allotments and churchyards – across the country have received the prestigious Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award.

Advertisement

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Each site was visited by expert judges who looked at criteria including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.

Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “Our local green spaces have a vital role to play in connecting us to nature. These awards go to prove that Wales’ parks and similar areas are doing a wonderful job in providing quality places to relax and enjoy.”

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: “With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

Continue Reading

Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire council opens ‘Re-use village’ in Nantycaws

Published

on

By

Carmarthenshire County Council and CWM Environmental Ltd have officially opened Canolfan Eto, a brand-new re-use village in Nantycaws which the council says aims to help close the loop on waste in the county and give a new lease of life to unwanted items.

Canolfan Eto offers a sustainable shopping experience to customers looking to purchase a wide range of items including furniture, bicycles, paint, gardening items and much more.

Advertisement

An education centre will soon host sessions for school pupils covering a range of environmental topics including; the importance of recycling, what happens to waste at recycling centres, how pollinators help us and how to support a circular economy in Carmarthenshire.

Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen, Cabinet Member for climate change, decarbonisation and sustainability said: “The opening of Canolfan Eto in Nantycaws marks an exciting step in the expansion of the Eto project as well as the growth of sustainability in Carmarthenshire.”

“With an on-site repair workshop to transform donations, the project looks to repair and re-use items to keep them in use for as long as possible.”

Cllr Edward Thomas, Cabinet Member for transport, waste and infrastructure services said: “Canolfan Eto will provide opportunities for residents and visitors to purchase a wide range of donated items that have been repaired and re-used by the project; helping to reduce the number of items that enter into the waste stream.”

The Eto project also includes a shop located in Stepney Street, Llanelli town centre which opened in 2021.

Advertisement

Donation stations are available at all of Carmarthenshire’s household waste recycling centres, where residents can donate items to the project.

The council says that Eto means ‘again’ and symbolises its ambition of a circular economy. It adds that Canolfan Eto will encourage visitors to purchase and donate previously used items rather than buying new whenever possible. The council say that the project will also help to achieve Carmarthenshire’s ambition of delivering a circular economy throughout the county as well as becoming a leader in recycling and re-use within Wales.

A circular economy focuses on eliminating waste by cutting down on throw away consumption and turning materials that would have previously been disposed of into a valuable resource. 

This project has been funded through Welsh Government’s Circular Economy fund. 

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News