Over 2000 trees planted in Yorkshire Ambulance Service memorial forest

12 May 2022

Photograph of Yorkshire Ambulance Service staff the memorial forest

Left to right - Aileen Stables, Alexis Percival, Alana Westwood, Rod Barnes

Work has been taking place to plant a memorial forest at the region’s ambulance service to commemorate those who died during the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the health and wellbeing of colleagues.

 The memorial forest is located at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s Fairfields site in York and aims to provide a scenic and tranquil area for colleagues to visit and remember those who lost their lives. It is also an area that can be used by staff to sit and walk in when they need some respite from their busy and challenging duties.

 The project is supported by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) Charity and includes 2,175 trees kindly donated by NHS Forest which have been planted across the Fairfields site, as well as a pond, meadow area, hibernacula (frog and newt hibernation space), bug hotels and refuges for lots of smaller animals.

 Phil Storr, Chair of the YAS Charity, said: “I am very proud the YAS Charity is able to support such a worthwhile initiative that will benefit our dedicated staff and their families through providing an attractive outdoor space for them to use. The Charity aims to engage communities and support colleagues and volunteers, and this development should do both, as well as support the Trust in becoming more environmentally friendly.”

 The memorial forest will provide space for biodiversity as well as carbon offsetting to help Yorkshire Ambulance Service and other healthcare organisations support future generations through the Greener NHS Programme; this will contribute to the Trust becoming net zero in the future.

 Alexis Percival, Environmental and Sustainability Manager, said: “We are committed to tackling climate change and the ecological emergency. The biodiversity on this site is very broad, but we are still looking to improve it. By installing a pond, we will improve the environment for the Tansy Beetle, a little-known insect that can only be found in York, so, we are looking to create an idyllic space not only for our staff, but for the environment as a whole.”

 Work started on the site in February with the initial preparation being completed by working groups from Yorkshire-based disability charity Open Country, which supports people with a wide range of physical and sensory impairments, learning disabilities, or mental ill-health. The planting of over 2,000 trees was then undertaken by a team of staff volunteers.

 This is the first project of its kind at the Trust and, longer term, Yorkshire Ambulance Service will be looking to improve the areas around all of its sites, to ensure a positive working environment for all staff and volunteers as well as the local community and wildlife. The Trust is also following the Road to Zero Strategy aimed at reducing emissions from road transport, and is working towards a greener fleet with a number of vehicles already in place for operational managers.


Notes to editors

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust covers almost 6,000 square miles of varied terrain from isolated moors and dales to urban areas, coastline and inner cities and provides 24-hour emergency and healthcare services to a population of more than five million people. The organisation receives around 2,830 emergency and routine calls per day and employs over 6,800 staff.

 The Patient Transport Service made over 555,000 journeys in 2020-21 transporting eligible patients to and from hospital and treatment centre appointments. The Trust’s NHS 111 service helped over 1.7 million patients across Yorkshire and the Humber, Bassetlaw, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire during 2020-21. To find out more about YAS, please visit the website at www.yas.nhs.uk

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department