The Care Show - the UK’s premier event for the care sector - returned to NEC Birmingham on 12-13 October. The Care Home Environment editor Matt Seex picks some highlights from the show
On 12-13 October, The Care Home Environment joined nearly 3,500 delegates at the biggest and busiest event in the social care calendar – the eagerly-awaited Care Show 2022 at NEC Birmingham. This year, The Care Home Environment partnered with the Care Show on the new Design, Build & Environments Stage, so it seemed fitting to begin our time at the show by attending the presentation Leading the way to a more sustainable future in care on that very stage, courtesy of Oakland Care’s head of business services, Aaron White. Rightly proud of Oakland’s status as the UK’s first carbon neutral care group, Aaron spoke enthusiastically about Oakland’s journey to reaching this milestone (a journey that Oakland CEO Joanne Balmer discussed in our July issue) and the many benefits sustainability can bring for care providers. Aaron framed Oakland’s shift to sustainability as a “fun and exciting project” whereby the provider started small - in this case by installing battery recycling bins in some of its homes - and building from there, a process which has seen Oakland embracing a truly holistic approach.
Aaron was of the view that it would surely not be long before it becomes mandatory for providers to meet key sustainability targets, and that staff, residents, and residents’ families alike now expect providers to be able to demonstrate their green credentials. He spoke of the importance of engaging with residents as part of “a real multi-faceted approach” by promoting activities such as planting wildflowers in care home gardens and creating biodiversity areas. Specifically, Aaron discussed the creation of a wildlife garden at its new Maplewood Court care home in Maidstone, Kent (which we visited back in July – see our September issue), a project that cost Oakland “no extra money” because of the voluntary involvement of the Kent Wildlife Trust. Sustainability, then, can be “cost neutral,” which should go some way to reassuring operators worrying about how much ‘going green’ is going to cost them at a time of rising energy costs and food bills
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