Last year I helped kick off planting at our first Nationwide woodland – Ravens Retreat - on the outskirts of Swindon, where our head office is based. Working side by side, members and employees have so far planted 4,400 trees here and further tree planting is planned later this year. I’ve been really touched at how many of our members, employees and their families want to get involved and make a difference to their local communities. Watch our video Creating Nationwide woodlands.
To help us create woodlands in other parts of the UK, I’m pleased to say that we’re partnering with the Woodland Trust. I’m delighted to be working with them as they’re the largest charity to champion native woods and trees. It has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 50,000 acres and access to its woods is free! Watch this space for opportunities to take part in our woodland creation programme near you.
Another aspect of our partnership with the Woodland Trust is to help local communities manage their own woodlands by offering start up grants and training. By providing resources and funding we can help people who are passionate about their local woods take an active role in the care and management of them. If you want to find out more, the Trust has launched a website (www.communitywoodland.org) which provides information and resources on how to set up a group to help manage or acquire an area of woodland. The more people we can encourage the better!
I want to do the right thing in terms of building a sustainable business for our members and employees and our woodland creation programme will help us reduce our environmental impact but also ultimately contribute to local communities.