18 October 2019


A tree planted at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital by Liverpool legend Sir Ken Dodd has had a change of location.

The tree, an alder, marked the launch of NHS Forest – an alliance of hospitals and other healthcare sites making the most of their outdoor spaces for patients and local communities.

It was planted on the old hospital site and ten years later, as the national NHS Forest conference returned to Alder Hey, it was moved to a position near the hospital’s Institute in the Park – the beginning of the development of the new Springfield Park.

Alder Hey is a national leader in the use of green space in its ‘hospital in the park’, with tree planting, an interactive woodland walk with multisensory plants and art installations and a Forest School.

David Houghton from Alder Hey’s Development Team, said:

“We are very proud to be the first children’s hospital built in a park. We recognize the importance of green space for our health and wellbeing and have created something really special here for our patients, families and local community to enjoy. It’s great to have this momento from Ken Dodd, who was a big supporter of the hospital, now in full view of everyone.”

The hospital was held up as an exemplar by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare which runs the NHS Forest campaign. In the last decade the campaign has led to the planting of 58,000 trees, numerous vegetable and therapeutic gardens, wildflower grasslands and woodlands.

Their remit is to champion the value of NHS outdoor space in aiding recovery and preventing illness.

Rachel Stancliffe, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, said:

“All NHS estates can be part of the NHS Forest, and each site will be different, and have its own opportunities for creating a therapeutic outside space. We want clinicians to make the direct link between the green space and how they can use it for rehabilitation and recuperation with the patients, so that it becomes not just a lovely area for people to use on site, but part of the whole healing process.”

The NHS Forest conference was sponsored by the Innovation Agency – the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast – as part of their commitment to the Liverpool City Region Year of the Environment, a partnership with Mersey Forest and Liverpool and Sefton Health Partnership. 

Photo caption: Gideon Ben-Tovim from the Innovation Agency with Sarah Dandy, Rachel Stancliffe, Jacqueline Cutting and Sarah-Jane Childs from the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, replanting the first NHS Forest tree at Alder Hey

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