Airedale Food Forest

Airedale General Hospital, Keighley

50 years ago, Prince Charles did the honour of opening Airedale General Hospital to the public in 1970. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, we worked together with YORgreencic (YGCIC) to plant 2,650 trees on their hospital grounds!

For the people at Airedale General Hospital, trees can help encourage happier and healthier lifestyles. There’s a great saying - ‘If you want to be happy for a year, plant a garden; if you want to be happy for life, plant a tree’. With the funding from the Prince’s Trust, we helped achieve this by planting thousands of bright and blossoming trees at the hospital.

The hospital serves a wide area of the surrounding population, including Keighley, which has been recognised to have several areas of deprivation. To enrich the area and allow it to flourish, we planted 2,650 fruiting trees in the open area around the hospital.

The project was not only launched to increase the biodiversity of the hospital grounds and improve the view for everyone in Keighley but to also become the Airedale ‘Food Forest’ to increase the amount of fresh fruit in the hospital menu. Cherry, apple, hazel, bullace, blackthorn and more were planted to provide delicious and free food for patients and staff to enjoy!

From the start, we aimed to get 200 enthusiastic volunteers to get their hands dirty and get involved which included some residents and families of patients and staff. We engaged with community groups in the local area too such as: the Friends of Airedale, Bradford Youth service, Aire Valley Wanderers, Get Out More Forest Schools, Keighley Big Local Volunteers and Dementia Friendly Keighley. This encouraged greater individual connectivity and value to nature through the community’s meaningful interactions with urban trees. Also, this helped the Hospital commit to providing more ‘green’ opportunities and events for patients and the community to get involved with in the future e.g. the harvesting of the fruits.

The hospital's head gardener, Steve Marshall, said:

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the trees grow and develop with all their fruits and colours and seeing how much enjoyment the project brings to people.”

Steve Marshall

This is the first year Trees for Cities has worked with YORgreencic on a project together directly. However, they both have a long history of delivering quality tree planting projects together through the Bradford Environmental Action Trust.

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