December 2022 saw the completion of Carlisle Healthcare South Hub, the latest development by United Healthcare Developments.
This flagship building is the most efficient primary care centre in the UK, achieving BREEAM Outstanding and an A+ EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) making the Carlisle Healthcare South Hub operational Net Zero Carbon.
However, sustainability is more than a highly efficient building with a solar panel array. It is ensuring that the building becomes part of the community, a building for Carlisle residents to be proud of. To facilitate this, UHD has worked closely with a number of local community groups throughout Carlisle on landscaping projects to give a sense of ownership to the individuals who will be utilising the building.
In July 2022, we joined members of the 13th and 25th Carlisle Scout Reivers to construct bird boxes that will be positioned around the site. Though UHD provided the materials, the hard work was done by the Scouts and in just two evenings they successfully built and decorated 20 bird boxes. These have been put up around the site so there will be plenty of nesting opportunities for birds in the spring. Hopefully they like pink!
Having signed up to the NHS Forest, we were generously donated 500 native trees to be planted around the Carlisle Healthcare South Hub. The site is naturally quite wild, so rather than stripping this back for ornamental landscaping, our aim was to enhance the existing vegetation with a diverse range of suitable tree and wildflower species in keeping with the wild nature of the site.
On 7 December 2022 enthusiastic helpers from UHD, PRP Architects, including Graham who came out of retirement specially, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, Carlisle Healthcare, St Cuthberts School, James Rennie School, friends and family met onsite to take part in a planting day to landscape the site. Typically, this was also the first proper frost of the year. Not ideal conditions for digging 500 holes! Luckily with the help of a pickaxe and a can-do attitude our helpers had managed to pre dig a number of holes whilst we waited for the sun to thaw the frozen ground.
The year 3s and 4s of St Cuthberts school spent 2 hours in the morning planting 283 saplings into a native hedgerow along the northern site boundary. They have been working alongside the Cumbria Wildlife Trust in the ‘Next door to Nature’ programme so the students have been learning about the advantages of hedgerows as wildlife corridors, as well as some of the properties and benefits of the trees being planted.
In the afternoon we were joined by the students of Hedgehog Class from the James Rennie School to plant the remaining trees. There was plenty of enthusiasm to get involved and the afternoon flew past.
A number of staff members from Carlisle Healthcare were able to plant the staff area of the site and were given the opportunity to choose the species and dedicate it to a loved one. These were numbered and recorded by Paul Farnworth, the maintenance manager for Carlisle Healthcare, who has kept a record for individuals to see how their trees get on.
All in all, it was a fantastic day. Our volunteers were well fuelled by delicious home baked treats from the onsite NJ’s Café and the day was a huge success.
Upcoming future involvement at the Carlisle Healthcare South Hub includes bulb planting in spring, making wildflower seed bombs to scatter, bug hotels to construct and monitoring the use of the bird boxes.
These activities will be carried out with local schools and groups to increase the sense of personal pride the building users feel towards the new Carlisle Healthcare South Hub.