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North Bristol NHS Trust: Space for Nature winner, Bee Bold Awards (Broader Organisations)

As part of its Estates Masterplan, North Bristol NHS Trust has introduced several pollinator-friendly initiatives across its hospitals.

The Bee Bold expert selection panel commended the approach for not only benefiting pollinators but for supporting improved health and welfare, for example through green social prescribing.

What they did 

The North Bristol NHS Trust is one of the first hospital sites in the UK to employ a Nature Recovery Ranger, whose role is to create wildlife-friendly habitats and help staff, patients and local people enjoy the health-related benefits of natural spaces. Regular butterfly and wildflower surveys are carried out by staff and community volunteers to monitor species.

The Trust has over 11,000square metres of wildflower meadow areas, with pollinator-friendly management schemes including leaving refuge areas unmown in winter for hibernating species.

The Trust worked with the PraiseBee Charity to put 1,000 red mason bee pupae on site before Spring 2022 to increase the population of this solitary bee. These bees have now bred and populated the grounds and surrounding gardens. 

Working in partnership with Bristol City Council, they are also taking part in the NHS Forest initiative, creating green space for health, by planting 500 native trees including fruit trees. 

The impact for North Bristol NHS Trust

More than 40 staff volunteer at the allotment which supports their health and wellbeing. Patients and visitors including those in the ICU can enjoy the benefits of being around nature. The Trust is planting new gardens across its hospital sites for more patients and staff to enjoy. 

The Bee Bold expert selection panel commended this simple but highly effective approach of engaging with landowners and managers, which has not only returned an abandoned land to nature but has also reduced overall maintenance costs. 

The impact for pollinators

Through volunteer-led surveys, the Trust estimates that it was able to support over 67,000 honeybees. By comparing the results from No Mow May in 2021 to 2022, the Trust showed that the number of bees supported has doubled due to the reduction in pesticide use and mowing.