HC-One’s Fleming Court Care Home in Jesmond, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, is celebrating World Environment Day on June 5, 2024, by highlighting its eco-friendly initiatives.

World Environment Day is the United Nations’ Day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year’s theme focuses on areas including land restoration and drought resilience, with activity termed ‘Generation Restoration’.

Fleming Court plans to utilise its sizeable outdoor space to maximum effect by adopting several green initiatives. Projects include several quirky ‘bug hotels’ and a bee garden to help foster biodiversity.

Further eco-friendly measures include planters that have been added to the garden to help grow a range of herbs, vegetables, and flowers. The planters will also help attract the bees to the garden area of Fleming Court.

The three bug hotels in Fleming Court’s garden area were hand-painted by residents and were positioned in tree branches where they are currently being well-frequented by local wildlife. The aim is for the bug hotels to entice a plentiful array of bugs and insects into the garden.

The bug hotels project is the handiwork of Fleming Court’s Wellbeing Coordinators, Michelle Shotton and Lisa Wood. The idea was discovered after they spoke to residents about refreshing the garden.

Fleming Court resident, Sheila Dey, was one of a few residents to paint the bug hotels. The resident described the bug hotels as a “lovely addition” to the home’s garden, as it improves biodiversity to help preserve the area for future generations.

Fleming Court’s Wellbeing Coordinator, Michelle Shotton, revealed that a variety of insects have called the bug hotels their home, including woodlouse. Fleming Court residents also wanted to help launch bee gardens at the home.

Work has recently started on the bee gardens project, after the home celebrated International Bee Day on May 20, 2024. The Wellbeing Coordinators discussed with residents how to attract bees to the home, and colleagues at Fleming Court purchased bee kits to launch the project.

Residents subsequently painted compostable pots which will be used to sow seeds to grow a variety of herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Fleming Court will also plant a herb garden – with thyme, mint, chives, parsley, rosemary, basil, and lemon basil – to further entice the bees. The herbs will then be used by the home’s catering team as part of the home’s varied dining options. The home’s residents can then enjoy what they have helped to grow.

Fleming Court also has a lawned area, which residents want to turn into a ‘Games Area’. Colleagues at the home have ordered a ‘Giant Jenga’ and they are also getting lawn bowls for residents and relatives to enjoy in the summer.

Michelle Shotton, Wellbeing Coordinator at Fleming Court, said:

“Our garden projects are focused on inclusivity, and this extends to our residents’ families – we want to get people of all ages involved. Several relatives of our residents have kindly offered to help with planting.

“A relative of a resident at Fleming Court also shared a story with us about their grandson who started beekeeping, which shows how we’re involving everyone. It’s a team effort and we’re really enjoying it.”

Mark Meacham, Head of Catering and Housekeeping Support Services, stated:

“HC-One is striving to make our homes as self-sustaining as possible. It is truly inspiring to see the hard work taking place across Fleming Court to preserve our environment by producing homegrown fruit and vegetables.

“Our Catering and Housekeeping Support Services will continue to support our homes on their initiatives by providing training covering tips and techniques for sustainable meal planning.”

In March 2024, HC-One homes (including Snapethorpe Hall in Yorkshire) supported the 2024 Food Waste Action Week. There are also ongoing commitments by the care provider to reduce the levels of food waste across all its care homes.

HC-One also provides residents (with dietary preferences) a choice of nutritious vegetarian and vegan meals to further reduce the organisation’s environmental impact. As highlighted in a recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report food waste is a major global issue, with approximately one billion tonnes of food being wasted each year, equating to one-fifth of all food available to consumers.

Wider eco-friendly initiatives are also being rolled-out across more of HC-One’s homes in 2024. These will include adding solar panels; installing electric vehicle (EV) charging points; decarbonising homes by removing gas appliances from the kitchen; and replacing gas tumble dryers with innovative air source heat pump dryers.