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£40K Secured For Additional New Tree Planting Across Reading

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A GRANT of £20,000 to plant new trees across Reading has been successfully secured, thanks to a partnership application between Ethical Reading, Reading Tree Wardens and Reading Borough Council.

The generous pot of £20,000 secured from The Urban Tree Challenge Fund has been match-funded by Reading Council, bringing the total investment in new trees up to £40,000. The funding will mean 48 substantial young trees for the borough over and above the Council’s own tree-planting programme, with planting starting this season and running into next season.

 As well as the wider environmental benefits of more trees, the planting locations will be carefully selected to help support people’s health and wellbeing. The new trees will all be concentrated near schools or medical centres in areas with low levels of tree cover and in areas of Reading with high levels of deprivation.

The Council will plant the new trees over the next two years and water them for three years to ensure they’re fully established. Reading Tree Wardens will lead on community engagement with Ethical Reading administering the project, including gathering data on the impact and continuing to liaise with the funding body and all the parties involved.  

On hearing the news, Ethical Reading founding director, Gurprit Singh, commented: “This was a brilliant team effort and we were thrilled to be able to share the news with everyone involved that we had got a yes, following a lot of hard work and an anxious wait. We’re delighted that we have been able to contribute towards Reading’s tree-planting efforts in such a meaningful way during these challenging times. We are also really grateful to Reading Council for agreeing to the 50% match funding to make it possible.  

“Our main aim is to attract funding from businesses to bring more trees to the parts of town that need them most. Knowing that this has been a difficult year for many businesses, we saw applying for this funding as an alternative way we could help to bring in more money for trees,”

Anna Iwaschkin, Coordinator for Reading Tree Wardens, who annually fund and plant trees in Reading’s parks and streets, added: “We were delighted  and proud that the partnership won this funding, particularly as it will so much benefit areas round schools and medical centres in low canopy parts of town.”

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “It is fantastic news that the positive partnership that we have with Ethical Reading’s Trees for Reading and the Reading Tree Wardens has secured such a significant sum of money for new trees. I’m also delighted the Council is able to match fund this grant to help secure 48 trees over the next two years over and above our own aims on Council-managed land.

“This is such a vital part of our work to increase biodiversity and response to tackling the climate emergency. This project complements our ambitious new Tree Strategy, which aims for 3,000 new trees on Council land by 2030, as well as increasing the proportion of land in Reading which is covered by tree canopy to 25% over the same timescale.

“I’d like to thank all our partners in Ethical Reading and at the Reading Tree Wardens who have worked hard to make this happen. The Council is very appreciative of all the help and support we get from partners in planting and maintaining Reading’s trees. We simply cannot achieve our targets without their support and without partnerships such as this. 

“Trees have the ability to improve our environment, enhance the beauty of our town and provide peace for our souls in our busy world. By carefully locating these trees near schools and medical centres, and in areas of higher social deprivation most in need of tree cover, these trees will make a real difference to the wellbeing of our communities.

“This is also great news for Reading’s Bid for City status, to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Our bid highlights Reading’s wealth of green spaces, that we are continually striving to enhance, and our leadership on climate change.”