Natural Alliance to Improve Health and Wellbeing
Four years ago Perranporth based company Green & Blue developed the award-winning Bee Brick which provides specially designed nesting sites for solitary bees and can be used in place of a standard brick or block in walls, houses, offices, sheds, conservatories and greenhouses. Now the company is working with Smartline on an exciting new project to persuade the construction industry to consider biodiversity as of equal importance to water, energy and heat when considering sustainable housing.
Led by the University of Exeter in partnership with Coastline Housing Ltd, Cornwall Council and Volunteer Cornwall, Smartline is exploring how local people, researchers and businesses can work together to develop new ideas and improve health and wellbeing.
A key element of the European funded project is helping small and medium sized businesses turn their innovative ideas into reality.
Following the success of the Bee Brick, Green & Blue approached Smartline to seek support for an awareness raising campaign to help educate communities and businesses about the importance of pollinators and encourage them to become more bee-friendly.
“Nature and green space are a key part of wellbeing and community“ said Green & Blue marketing manager Faye Clifton. “As the Smartline project is also about these things, it felt like a really good match”.
Using Idea Generation Grant funding from Smartline to create an education portal and digital education pack, Green & Blue launched Solitary Bee Week in July 2018, delivering information about the crucial role of pollinators and the positive health and wellbeing benefits of contact with nature to schools and community groups across Cornwall.
The company is now taking part in Smartline’s In Residence scheme and is working with researchers on a new project looking at how their wildlife friendly products can be used to encourage the construction industry to consider biodiversity alongside sustainability within future developments.
“We are examining the impact of the Bee Brick on the environment and on wellbeing, as well as encouraging more developers to install and maintain the bricks in new buildings” said Faye. “We also want to explore the impact of wider ecosystems on the health and wellbeing of local communities, engaging with homeowners to study the impact of living in a property with a great connection to nature.
“This research will give us the evidence we need to encourage the Government and construction industry to incorporate biodiversity alongside energy and water when developing sustainable housing.”
Smartline are keen to hear from any other local businesses with exciting new ideas for using technology to help improve the health and wellbeing of local communities.