Birch Hill is blooming brilliant

Mental health services in Rochdale have received a silver medal at the North West Britain in Bloom Awards 2017.

Birch Hill HospitalThe services are part of the Birch Hill Hospital site, run by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. They entered the competition for the first time this year under the hospital grounds category.

Estates maintenance staff from the hospital teamed up with Wardle Pennine in Bloom back in March 2017 to set about transforming the grounds in time for the competition.

Under the watchful eye of Ray Smith from the Wardle group, the estates team and All Seasons contract landscapers spruced up flower beds and green areas, along with creating an orchard at the front of the hospital. They also worked hard to keep it maintained on a daily basis.

Britain in Bloom is a national competition which sees over 3,000 communities take part across the UK. Judges from the Royal Horticultural Society select the winners based on horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.

Birch Hill Hospital was announced among the winners for the North West region at a ceremony in Southport.

Stephen Doyle, Pennine Care’s Estates Operations Manager (Maintenance), attended the ceremony and received the silver award on behalf of the team.

He said: “I was surprised by the level of congratulations from the other winners, until I learnt that getting silver as a first time entry is a great achievement. It’s a credit to the efforts of the estates and gardening teams and Wardle Pennine in Bloom.”

The team now plans to involve more patients from the hospital in the project next year, helping to provide more social inclusion activities for adults with mental health problems and complex needs.

Stephen said: “Making the grounds of the site look welcoming is important for the patients and visitors, and we hope to involve patients from our units in the bid next year.

“Hopefully we will be celebrating a gold medal for our efforts this time next year.”