A million free trees sent out to schools and communities

Thousands of organisations across the UK are receiving packs of saplings to improve their local environment.

A million saplings are being sent to schools and communities this planting season (WTPL/Niall Benvie/PA)
A million saplings are being sent to schools and communities this planting season (WTPL/Niall Benvie/PA)

More than a million free saplings are being given away to schools and communities amid a “real passion” for planting trees, the Woodland Trust has said.

It is the first time the charity, which supplies tree packs to schools and community groups keen to improve their local area, has sent out a million trees in a single planting season.

The trust said the milestone showed a growing desire among the public to plant trees and care for the environment.

Some 820,680 trees are being sent to 5,121 organisations in England, while 95,100 are going to 539 groups and schools in Scotland, 61,755 to 356 Welsh organisations, and 33,495 to 179 communities in Northern Ireland.

Beccy Speight, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said the charity had been close to hitting the one million mark for several years, but achieving it was a real milestone.

“There’s a real passion for planting across the UK. People want to feel they are making a difference.

“Trees resonate on so many levels – they make where we live more beautiful, they help clean our air, improve our soils, clean and hold back water, provide a home for wildlife and help us address the causes and impacts of climate change.

“Improving mental health and well-being is high on the social agenda and urban trees in particular can help people to feel the benefits of being outdoors.

“Feedback that we’ve received from recipients of free trees is that improved well-being was one of their top reasons to apply.

“They also reported a sense of real achievement and fulfilment when planting.”

Since the initiative began in 2010, 5.8 million trees have been sent to schools and local groups.

It is funded by Sainsbury’s, players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and Yorkshire Tea, and the Environment Department (Defra) has also supported the trust to provide 100,000 trees a year to state primary schools in England over four years.

All the trees are UK sourced and grown, and people can apply for between 15 and 420 trees with packs for hedges, copses, wild harvests, year-round colour, working woods, wildwoods, wildlife and urban planting.

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