Causeway Hospital has become the first healthcare site to officially sign up as a supporter of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
The Hospital site was designed to have a small area of meadow as part of the initial design but Donna Rainey, a nurse at the site and the Deputy Head of Operations, Bamber McKay, realised that with some changes made to the way it was managed it could offer so much more.
With plenty of advice from Donna, who is passionate about the preservation of public grasslands and meadow, the meadow area was enlarged and it was agreed with the grounds contractor that they would complete a cut and lift at the end of each growing season.
This in turn takes the feed source away from the grass providing more space and light to encourage the wild flowers to thrive. The space now has a variety of wildflowers all of which have grown naturally and have encouraged an abundance of insects and bird life to live alongside a busy acute hospital environment.
Bamber McKay, Deputy Head of Operations for the Northern Trust, commented: “The last year has been a particularly challenging time for everyone. Nature and exercise are really beneficial for our physical and mental health and in reducing stress levels so it seemed like a perfect time to get on board with this idea and encourage staff and visitors to take a walk in the grounds. We’re absolutely delighted to have been named as the first healthcare site in the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan as the benefits extend beyond the species in the meadow and it’s very rewarding to see the impact of the work you’ve put in. I would like to thank Donna for all her input and expertise which helped us to make a success of the project.”
Staff at the Causeway Hospital hope patients and visitors will be able to join staff in taking a short walk around the meadow or to sit on one of the many summer seats listening to the bird song and watching the pollinators at work collecting nectar from the abundance of wildflowers around the grounds.