Veolia, in partnership with community action charity Groundwork, have donated more than 500 apple, pear and plum trees to schools across the country.
St John’s Primary Academy, St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Church Eaton Primary School, St John’s C of E Primary Academy, St Paul’s C of E Primary School, King Edward VI High School and Mumbles Day Nursery, Stone, were chosen to take part.
Children from St John’s Year 4 group joined the council and Veolia to plant the three apple, one pear and one plum tree in the school grounds.
Councillor Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “We are really pleased to be able to help with this great initiative from Veolia and Groundwork to plant more tress in our borough.
“Only a few months ago the council and partners planted hundreds of trees in our new local nature reserve off Fairway in Stafford, so it is wonderful to see similar projects taking place across our community.”
He added: “As a council we have made tackling climate change one of our top priorities, but we cannot do this alone. It requires the support of our partners, businesses, and the community to contribute to our carbon reduction agenda - and this latest scheme is a great example of working in partnership to do this.”
The potential of trees in urban environments to combat the climate crisis is immense, not only in their contribution to increasing biodiversity and improving air quality, but their capacity to mitigate the effects of temperature rises.
Veolia say that by donating trees schoolchildren across the country can plant their very own orchard and learn how to care for them until they bear fruit, providing them with healthy, locally sourced food and nurturing their wellbeing through a reconnection with nature.
The latest campaign is part of the company’s Sustainable Schools programme which was launched during the pandemic to continue work in educating children and young adults on the importance of protecting the planet and the environment.
For more information on how Veolia supports schools and to discover other partnership opportunities please visit www.veolia.co.uk/schools
Donald Macphail, Chief Operating Officer UK Treatment at Veolia said: “The extraordinary response to the Veolia Orchard campaign highlights how important trees are, not just for the environment but for the positive impact they have on the education and wellbeing of school children in our local communities. We’re delighted to be partnering with Groundwork and all the teams look forward to helping this national network of orchards take root.”
Joe McIndoe, UK Partnerships Manager, Groundwork said: “With the numbers of orchards in the UK in steep decline, we’re delighted to work alongside Veolia to provide free trees to primary schools and begin building this network of orchards across the country. The trees provide many benefits: fruit so that children can have the pleasure of picking and eating juicy, fresh food, shade in the summer and the tools for pupils to learn about nature guided by a handy booklet developed by Groundwork's landscaping experts. We can’t wait to see the kids planting their trees."