Greening up Bedford – Locals crowdfund to raise money for street tree planting on Riverfield Drive
A Bedford residents association has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to plant trees along a busy road, as a means of improving their area, and helping to tackle common issues such as speeding, pollution and littering.
Bedford Borough Council launched its tree sponsorship scheme on the Trees for Streets national tree sponsorship platform this summer.
Trees for Streets is a project by Trees for Cities, the national urban tree charity, funded by the government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Its mission is to fund the planting of 1/4 of a million extra street trees nationwide over the next ten years, by supplementing council tree planting budgets through public sponsorship.
Cllr Hilde Hendrickx said: "The scheme we are running with Trees for Streets makes it easy for local residents to get directly involved in improving their neighbourhoods by getting even more trees planted. As Newnham ward councillors both I and Cllr Jake Sampson are delighted to support this community initiative."
Residents of the Riverfield area, who already take care of their neighbourhood by undertaking regular litter picks and other activities, were quick to see the potential of this project. They've started fundraising within the community to plant up to 15 trees along Riverfield Drive, and are inviting people who live in the immediate area to contribute to an online crowdfunding campaign, along with local businesses.
Lead volunteer Gemma Lane explains more: "We love our neighbourhood, and feel that the benefits trees can bring, such as helping to calm speeding traffic, combat pollution and generally making the area greener will help to address some of the negative aspects of living along an increasingly busy road. So far we've raised £900 of our £4,500 target - that's enough to sponsor 3 trees along Riverfield Drive, which is a great start."
The Trees for Streets app makes it easy for anyone to sponsor a street tree in their neighbourhood by making a request to their local council. The council then assesses the chosen location, and if it is suitable, arrangements will be made to plant a tree the following winter; the best time to plant young trees to ensure they grow and thrive.
Why are street trees important?
Street trees do so much for us:
- capture carbon dioxide and produce oxygen
- improve our health and wellbeing - both physically and mentally
- absorb air pollution
- improve air quality by acting like natural filters
- protect us from flooding
- create shading and cooling - so important for us and our four-legged friends
- make the neighbourhoods where we live that bit nicer
Contribute to the Riverfield Drive campaign here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/riverfieldtrees
Find out more about the Bedford Trees for Streets scheme: https://treesforstreets.org/bedford