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.
The rill water feature
The trees still growing strong after the summer
Paving on the new bridge
The amphitheatre taking shape
Construction of the Green Heart Cafe
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We have repaved the area outside Muirhead Tower and Arts, bringing it together with the Green Heart.
- 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
All alternative routes will be clearly signposted
This year, progress surrounding the Green Heart will rapidly advance with the completion of University Square, and work on the former library site taking shape. We are hosting Open Forums throughout 2018 to give staff and students the opportunity to find out more.
Hosted across the Edgbaston campus, the sessions will give you the opportunity to discover more about the project’s development from chief architects, Churchman Landscape Architects, key contractors, Willmott Dixon and the University’s project team. Each Forum will also conclude with Q&As from the audience, giving you the chance to ask the questions most important to you. The first Forum will be held on:
- Friday 9 March
- Arts Building Lecture Room 6 (R16)
- 14:00 – 15:00
- Refreshments provided
Keep an eye on our webpage for all up and coming Open Forums.
What do you want to know about your new parkland?
We would like to introduce you to the team behind the scenes at Willmott Dixon making the Green Heart a reality. Willmott Dixon are one of the UK’s leading construction contractor specialists and are using their expertise to ensure that the creation of our new parkland goes smoothly. As well as making sure that progress on site continues as planned, the team have also joined University Green Heart colleagues at Open Days and other public events to answer all your questions. They are also coordinating some fantastic work experience schemes and school’s projects to inspire the next generation of constructors.
We recently delivered the University’s community magazine to over 40,000 households in the local area. Did you get your copy of Community Buzz through the letterbox if you live nearby? If you didn’t, don’t worry, you can download your copy of Community Buzz Autumn 2017 now!
The magazine is teeming with the latest University news, events, and research and educational highlights. Make sure you save the date for the 2018 Art & Science Festival and why not book onto one of our exciting cultural tours. Also find out how our students are making a difference in the local community and transforming lives; it’s all in the magazine and much more. Our very own Green Heart project also features, discussing how we will restore a 100 year old vision by 2019.
Download your free copy today!
I’m Sally Xerri-Brooks, and I’m the Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager for major capital projects on campus. The Green Heart is one of the most significant areas I work on, so I spend a lot of time thinking about it and supporting its development. I do this by engaging with staff and students, as well as the local community. I work closely with the Estates department and contractors carrying out the all-important work to make the Green Heart a reality and I help make sure people know what is happening at each point in the project.
Every day I attend a range of meetings with key people across the University and across the city. I also get to go on site and see crucial bits of landscaping and building work as it happens, which I really enjoy. I make sure we have pictures and progress reports that I can share with everyone who is affected by the work.
I cannot wait for the Green Heart to be completed. One of the things I am really looking forward to is seeing the water features when they are in place. The consultation with staff and students told us that there was a real desire to get moving water onto campus to create flow and relaxation on campus. Ultimately, I’m looking forward to seeing the space used and people gaining holistic benefit from it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.”