Swindon-based Eastcott Veterinary Referrals has recently spruced up its garden premises and announced the opening of its very own insect hotel as part of the animal hospital’s ongoing biodiversity projects.

Eastcott’s dedicated ‘Green Team’ led the renovation project and have created a lovely green space to offer a welcome and cheering refuge not only to insects, but also a relaxing area for staff to enjoy their lunch.

The new design includes seating areas surrounded by bright and cheerful planting, a herbal garden and an ‘insect hotel’. The borders have been designed to complement the existing planting, while also increasing biodiversity on the site as part of their ongoing sustainability aims.

Jasmine Kilpatrick, Emergency and Critical Care Nurse at Eastcott, was the mastermind behind the project. She was responsible for drawing up plans, getting them approved and implementing the changes around the facility.

She said: “I’ve had personal struggles with mental health in the past and found that being outside and gardening really made a positive difference to my stress levels, anxiety and mental wellbeing.

“I wanted to share this experience with everyone at the hospital, particularly with those who don’t necessarily have a garden of their own to retreat to after a hard day’s labour.

“Our line of work can be quite strenuous and mentally draining, so it’s incredibly important to be able to take a few minutes every day to get some fresh air outside. Where else better to do that, than in our own front yard!”

In 2020, Eastcott formed its Green Team – a group of passionate and like-minded colleagues who are committed towards helping reduce the animal hospital’s environmental impact through a journey of continual reflection and improvement.

Jasmine continued: “I did a lot of research into the flora and fauna that would work for our premises and looked at plants that would attract bees and butterflies. I also looked at other ways we could achieve our aim of substantially reducing our environmental impact.

“The insect hotel seemed like the perfect idea as it offers a sanctuary to beneficial insects, especially pollinators. It is the urban solution to a declining population of beneficial insects in human environments.

“The herb garden is an especially attractive part of the renovation. Not only does it mean the hospital is growing its own produce of herbs but it’s also our way of reducing the carbon footprint that would have otherwise risen driving to and from supermarkets, along with packaging.

“The management team at Eastcott has been extremely supportive throughout this project and we are really looking forward to the next phases of our business plan.

“Over the course of the next few months, we are hoping to install bird boxes and water baths that small animals can use. We are also hoping to have more seating areas around the garden which staff and patients can enjoy.”

Eastcott offers expert care in cardiology, dentistry, neurology, internal medicine, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oncology, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery, laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, diagnostic imaging and CT, anaesthesia and analgesia and has its own emergency and critical care centre.

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