World Mental Health Day 2018

Wednesday 10th October was World Mental Health Day 2018, an important date that helps raise awareness and reduce stigma for the vast amount of people that struggle with mental health issues. This can boost the confidence of those struggling and allow them to access the knowledge they need to know in order to get the help they need in a non-judgmental environment.

Professional help for those struggling with mental health issues can be a vital part of recovery. Additionally, studies are finding more lifestyle habits that tend to help or hinder someone struggling with mental illness in a more passive way. One example of this is the positive impact that green spaces can have on a person’s mental health.

With the Green Heart coming to completion in early 2019, soon the campus will have a vast, widely accessible green-space. The results of research suggest that spaces like these have a positive effect on the mental health of those living and working locally to it. These benefits include reduced stress, apathy depression and anger, which in the longer term leads to less depression and anxiety and greater well-being. Green spaces also have a therapeutic benefit to mental health, enhancing self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence.

Even just the presence of green spaces has shown a positive effect on people’s mental health. This is a real benefit of the Green Heart. It is an easy-to-access study space due to the WiFi coverage where finding a seat isn’t a problem, and even when choosing to study in the Library, Murihead Tower or Arts building, the Green Heart will still be visible to many students. Because the Green Heart will be a convenient place to be, and a central point of campus, being at the heart of campus it is almost unavoidable when travelling through the university. All frequenters of the Edgbaston campus will experience a positive effect on their mental health because of this.

If you are feeling you are suffering with mental health problems, there are plenty of methods of getting the help you need from the University. There is a Mental Health and Wellbeing drop in service from Mon-Fri in the Aston Webb, or for more personalised help please complete their online self-referral form. You can always talk to your GP about mental health too.

For urgent help, the Samaritans helpline is available 24/7 – call 116 123.

Welcome back to the Green Heart for another academic year!

As many of you know we had a gloriously hot summer which was wonderful, but here at Green Heart we had a real struggle on our hands to keep the newly planted trees alive! As a result, we had a constant rotation of watering carried out by three members of our team, each tree receiving a good 25 minute soaking both into the root and top of the soil. This was six days a week for over 12 weeks. Fortunately, all of the trees have survived and the brown canopies are at last starting to disappear.

Here’s what was happening over the summer:

  1. The café and its embankments were 90% completed and clad. This has formed the link from the North of the site to our new bridge. Works are now ongoing to handrails and final walkway finishes.
  2. We have started to install additional Wi-Fi and information totems which will enhance the experience and use of Green Heart for the students. This will mean that students can study freely on the Green Heart as Wi-Fi will be easy and accessible for all.
  3. In addition to this, off-site we have been working hard to acquire the planting for the autumn. Specialist plants have been sourced from Europe and are currently in greenhouses either in Holland or South Wales.
  4. We have repaved the area outside Muirhead Tower and Arts, bringing it together with the Green Heart.
  5. The rill water feature next to the new Teaching and Learning building site has all been cast and the infrastructure of the pump room constructed. Once completed it will provide a link between the new building and Green Heart. https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/university/building/teaching-and-learning-building.aspx

Now term has started, the amphitheatre has been carved in its raw state which can be viewed from Muirhead Tower. This shows how the site will be shaped to accommodate the exciting live shows on library square when the lawn is completed!

Here from Green Heart, we hope you have had a lovely summer and we hope you stay tuned for more exciting updates this upcoming year!

 

New landscaping phase to begin

Progress on the Green Heart is advancing fast. University Square is now complete and looks glorious in the sun; have you enjoyed your lunch yet on one of our swanky new benches?

The next vital piece of work to commence will focus around the Art Buildings to enable the team to repave the pathways and former car park in this area.

From Saturday 14 July to Friday 21 September, pathways between Muirhead Tower (R21) and the Arts Building (R16) will close. There will be no public access along these pathways and as a result, building access from these pathways will also be closed. Alternative routes will be clearly signposted throughout the works. This construction has been programmed to commence after degree congregations in July 2018 and be completed before Welcome Week in September 2018.

The map below outlines the alternative routes during these works and further details can be found here. If you want to get in touch with any questions or concerns that you may have, please email us at greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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All alternative routes will be clearly signposted 

Celebrate good times!

To celebrate reaching 1,000 followers on the University of Birmingham’s Green Heart Twitter account, the team are offering our followers the chance to get behind the scenes at the University of Birmingham’s most ambitious estates project.

Join us from next week for a free, exclusive tour, behind the hoardings of the University’s 12-acre parkland. Find out how we’re building a new space centred around you through innovative landscaping and architecture before we open at the end of this year.

There are four tour slots to choose from but, you’ll need to book up fast before spaces go!

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Get behind the scenes

Developing the library terrace

With the opening of University Square in May, work to complete the Green Heart by late 2018 – early 2019 is progressing quickly. Over the next few weeks work will commence adjacent to the library terrace to connect the Square and library to the rest of the Green Heart. We hope these works will take a few weeks to complete over the summer. During this time we will be:

  1. Removing the bamboo area and creating a compound so works can take place safely.
  2. Laying new paving around the steps but, one side of the steps will always be accessible and the ramp will remain open during these works.
  3. Replacing the ramp (once step 2 is completed) with an accessible pathway that connects to the Green Heart.

Once we’re done, this new area will provide additional terrace space alongside a connected and fully accessible pathway. If you have any questions, or comments during these works, please contact us on greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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Improving your library terrace

The Green Heart team on the road

The Green Heart team will be making a very special appearance at the University’s Birmingham Prom on Saturday 9 June! Bring your family and friends for a free evening of spectacular entertainment, at the heart of campus, in Chancellor’s Court. With music from the University’s talented Orchestra and Choir, you’ll be blown away  by an outstanding  programme of well-known classical, Broadway and film scores. Gates open from 18:00 with music on the Main Stage from 19:30. There will also be a range of food and drink available, or bring your own picnic. Make sure you join us early and grab your perfect spot before it gets busy.

This year, the Green Heart team and its contractors, Mace and Willmott Dixon, will be sponsoring the Prom. As part of this, we will be making a very important announcement about your parkland and its official opening. We will also be giving everyone the chance to win one of three exclusive University prize bundles as part of our announcement; so make sure you join us!

Book your free tickets now.

University Square reopened

Since August 2017, University Square has been partially closed for redevelopment as part of the Green Heart project. First the east side, and then the west side. This week, we reopened the entire Square for staff, students and the local community to enjoy.

The redeveloped Square includes new lighting and benches, as well as wider, flood-proof pathways suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. We hope the new system of pathways will also ease congestion in this popular space on campus. To make the area environmentally friendly for people and wildlife, we’ve planted 13 new trees in the Square, to accompany the existing 38, which include Oaks, Limes, Redwoods and a Tulip Tree. The Square also includes the University’s first rain gardens and a variety of plants and grasses.

For a little while the Square will look a bit empty, but please bear with us. Grass reseeding is now underway, as well as additional planting, and we hope with good weather, this will flourish very soon… just in time for summer! Work will now continue on the former library and North Car Park site with the aim to open the entire parkland in late 2018 – early 2019.

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A new view on campus