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New partnership helps Llandough orchard grow

The development of a community orchard in the grounds of University Hospital Llandough (UHL) has been boosted by a partnership with Wales Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

The CRC’s Community Payback team has joined Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to carry out labouring works to help develop the site. NRW has donated money to purchase gardening equipment to help the works within Our Orchard including cutting edging shears, rakes, secateurs, strimmer’s and power tools to help with construction of gates and benches.

NRW have also donated a number of bird and bat boxes and are working closely with the estate management team at the hospital to erect bird and bat boxes to encourage wildlife into the hospital grounds and surrounding habitats.

Our Orchard is a unique outdoor project will be created on seven acres of land at UHL to provide patients, staff and visitors with a dedicated space to improve recovery and healing.

Community Payback benefits local communities across the region as offenders pay back for the crimes they have committed. Offenders work as part of a team or on an individual placement and are monitored by a supervisor, working all day. As part of Our Orchard they will be responsible for creating a user friendly entrance to the site with the construction of a new gate and will work towards clearing unwanted vegetation, blackthorn, rubbish and green waste so the bespoke areas of Our Orchard can be created.

The team will work closely with a landscape gardener to complete the work with care, preserving a number of Oak trees on the site which will remain and become part of Our Orchard landscape.

Our Orchard will be the first of its kind in Wales and will benefit patients, staff, visitors and the wider community and will be funded entirely through donations made to the Cardiff & Vale Health Charity. The project will be funded and maintained entirely through donations and volunteers with no NHS money used towards the outdoor space.

Simone Joslyn, Head of Arts and Charity said:

“UHL is fast becoming a long term recovery and rehabilitation hospital. For many of our patients, their conditions and treatment are long term, keeping them away from their friends, family and familiar environments. This can be for many months while they regain their health or learn to live with managing their present health in a different way.

“We are so grateful to the Community Payback Team and Natural Resources Wales for being inspired by Our Orchard and working closely with us to develop this important space which will ensure our patients have access to the outdoors to promote health and wellbeing.”

Lacey Meredith, Community Payback Operations Manager at Wales CRC, said:

“We are delighted to be providing Community Payback support to this unique project which will really help hospital patients with their recovery journeys. We have worked on a number of projects with Cardiff and Vale UHB, and it is fantastic to strengthen this partnership with our involvement in Our Orchard. This outdoor manual work allows our service users to ‘pay back’ to their communities and improve services for the people of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. This project will be physically demanding while allowing service users to gain new skills and help to create a legacy for years to come which is something they can be proud of.”

Scott Hand, Senior Natural Resources Management Officer said:

“Our Orchard is such an exciting project to be involved with, to use land already there and develop it into something which will create a community outdoor space for everyone to enjoy. Fresh air is key to health and wellbeing and Our Orchard being situated on a hospital site known for rehabilitation and recovery will certainly improve this.

“We look forward to seeing how Our Orchard progresses and can’t wait to see the initial phases completed.”

Our Orchard will be a semi-natural planted area which has been set aside for the protection of plants and wildlife. This long term project will be established in phases to include a fruit orchard, wetlands, a meadow and an area for bees.

For more information on our Orchard visit www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/ein-berllan-our-orchard

To find out more about volunteering or fundraising for Our Orchard contact Georgina Burke at Cardiff & Vale Health Charity on [email protected]