New innovative Orchard project launches at hospital site

A unique outdoor space to enhance the health and wellbeing of patients and the local community has launched at University Hospital Llandough (UHL) as part of World Health Day.

Ein Berllan – Our Orchard was officially launched by Future Generations Commissioner – Sophie Howe, Mayor of Vale of Glamorgan – Stuart Egan, Maria Battle – Chair of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and Ecologist Dr Rhys Jones who is the official ambassador of Ein Berllan – Our Orchard.

The vision of Ein Berllan – Our Orchard is to create a unique space which will become a legacy for generations to come. This long term project will be established in phases, and will include a semi-natural planted area which has been set aside for the protection of plants and wildlife, wildflower meadows and a bee sanctuary.

Ein Berllan – Our Orchard will be created on 17 acres of semi-rural pasture land and woodland which makes up part of the UHL estate. This will benefit patients, staff, visitors and the wider community and will be funded entirely through donations made to the Cardiff and Vale Health Charity. No NHS funding will contribute to the development and maintenance of this unique outdoor space.

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner said: “Projects like this are so important because as part of the Future Generations Act it requires us to think about the connections between our social wellbeing, our health, nature, our culture and the economy.

“This isn’t just a facility for patients in hospital, this is a facility for the whole community to get involved in through volunteering which will help people connect, keep active and involved with nature which will be beneficial to their health and wellbeing. I really would urge everyone to see this as their community Orchard and contribute to it and help out wherever you can.”

University Hospital Llandough is fast becoming a long term recovery and rehabilitation hospital. For many patients, their conditions and treatment are long term, keeping them away from their friends, family and familiar environments for many months while they regain their health, or learn to live with managing their present health in a different way. Being away from family and friends and ‘living’ within a clinical environment can have an impact on the patients’ wellbeing and, in turn, slow recovery, leading to a longer hospital stay.

Ein Berllan – Our Orchard will enhance the benefits of health and wellbeing while supporting patients on their journey of recovery and rehabilitation. It will allow patients to be taken out of the traditional clinical environment and enjoy fresh air and natural light which can assist with recovery. The Health Board is working with partners to establish this innovative project which is believed to be the first of its kind at a hospital site in the UK.

Maria Battle, Sophie Howe and Dr Rhys Jones

Dr Rhys Jones, who was named the official ambassador of Ein Berllan – Our Orchard said: “I am delighted to get involved in Our Orchard because we have an opportunity to be able to create the most wonderful, beautiful oasis of calm and to help people to heal instead of using the land for redevelopment and building.

“I was honoured to be invited by the Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan, Stuart Egan to be the ambassador for Our Orchard project and I am really excited for the future because this isn’t just about patients now, it’s about leaving a legacy, it’s about future generations and it starts today.”

Mayor of Vale of Glamorgan, Stuart Egan nominated Ein Berllan – Our Orchard as his Official Charity and said: “There is a huge amount of land at the end of this hospital site that we can turn into something really special, and it’s exactly what is needed. The peace and tranquillity you feel when you go into those fields is wonderful and is something we can capture and offer to patients and the local community.

“UHL has become a rehabilitation centre for patients, some of whom are on a long recovery journey over a number of months, so Our Orchard will offer them a tranquil outside space to enjoy with their visitors.

“There is a huge buzz around this project and everyone that I have spoken to about it feels excited. I want everyone in the community to be able to enjoy this legacy and get benefits from it.”

You can find out more about Ein Berllan – our Orchard at: www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/ein-berllan-our-orchard

To donate to Ein Berllan – Our Orchard please visit: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/cardiffandvale/ourorchard

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Nathan Spackman

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