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Wildlife experts help Warwick Conferences develop first outdoor meeting space

Published: Wednesday, 13 November 2019

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Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is helping Warwick Conferences to develop its first outdoor meeting space which has been created to enhance the wellbeing of delegates.

The conference, meeting and events business at the University of Warwick is renowned for its innovative spaces to inspire thinking and improve wellbeing – and is now taking that one step further by venturing out into the open.

The Trust is advising Warwick Conferences on how best to support and encourage wildlife within the new area which will enable delegates to enjoy the recognised benefits of being closer to nature.

The Woodland Retreat is located near to the Scarman venue, with a natural walkway leading to a camp-like setting featuring a tent structure and railway sleepers on bark for seating.

Hotels for bees and bugs as well as multiple bird feeders have been installed, with the Trust advising on signage to inform visitors about the local wildlife population.

Deckchairs, cushions and blankets are available for extra comfort along with wheeled carts to transport picnics, refreshments and working materials for informal meetings or team building. 

Jean Hill, Facilities Manager at Warwick Conferences, is passionate about the outdoors and is leading the initiative. 

Jean said: “The Woodland Retreat was created in response to requests from event organisers to have the opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful green spaces available at Warwick Conferences to host meetings in.

“Delegate welfare is an increasing concern for event managers and so we hope this new space will improve wellbeing as connecting with nature has a range of benefits including reducing stress and increasing happiness.

“We wanted to keep the area as natural as possible so that people can really be immersed in nature and benefit from all the sights and sounds, from birds singing to twigs crunching underfoot, and it is great to have had expert advice from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.”

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s work recognises the importance the natural world has in health and wellbeing, which includes supporting businesses to overcome challenges such as staff absenteeism and retention.

Ian Jelley, Director of Living Landscapes at the Trust, said: “From our perspective, this is key work being done by Warwick Conferences to bring together the benefits of the natural world and the positives this can have for people’s mental health.

“Not enough businesses make use of what is on their doorstep and can see nature as a challenge to overcome, but Warwick Conferences are seeing it as something to work with and are providing something different which is really wonderful to see.”