Trees for Derby was officially registered as a Charity in August 2019. We’re now nine months on with the first tree planting season under our belts and a fantastic 6,170 trees planted across multiple different sites in Derby. It’s been a sharp learning curve and we’re still finding ways to improve how we work and engage with our local community but we’ve made a great start. The first few months were spent working out the basics, what are our goals, how do we get people on board, who do we need to talk to and most importantly where and how can we start planting trees.
We kicked off the planting season in November with an event at Roe Farm Park, Chaddesden, in collaboration with Derby Parks. It was a grey, drizzly morning but we got a fantastic turn out, far better than any of us had hoped for. We’d decided that if no one turned up, we would plant the trees ourselves and at least there’d be plenty of biscuits to go around. To our surprise more than 80 people turned up and we planted all 1,000 trees in record time.
To coincide with our launch event we set up a go fund me page to kickstart our fundraising. Thanks to your kind donations we’ve managed to raise more than £2,000 so far, to help us pay for trees, tools and maintenance. We also received generous donations from a couple of local businesses, Alten and Buildbase. With the support of Derby City Council, Alten’s donation will go towards the planting of an avenue of approximately 14 trees in Chaddesden Park. The money will not only allow us to provide these larger trees (standards) but also cover the ongoing maintenance of the avenue. While Buildbase donated a number of spades, gloves and pruning equipment.
In November Trees for Derby was starting to build up a head of steam and reach out to other groups and organisations that share our goals. One such group is Derby EcoSikh, one of our trustees is also part of this group, who planted 550 trees at the New Persons forest to commemorate the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak.
Over Christmas and the new year there was a break from planting events as we tried to identify new sites across Derby, investigate funding options and bring together teams of locals to set up working groups for each of the wards in Derby. We had our first ward meeting in early January with the aim of putting people in touch with other like-minded people in their area, to help identify and take forward sites for planting. We had planned a second meeting in April to get feedback from the teams, provide support and hopefully get more people involved. Unfortunately, this was cancelled following the government restrictions but we are looking to get a virtual meeting set up in the near future.
As many of you will know March was planned to be a big month for us. In early March, Rich and Reg had a great day out helping the kids at Fairfield School plant 65 trees on their playing fields. We had a number of bigger events planned in Allestree, Chaddesden and Fullens Lock, Chellaston but unfortunately they all had to be cancelled following concerns over coronavirus and later lockdown restrictions. However, that didn’t stop us planting. A big shout out and massive thank you to those few dedicated volunteers for your efforts in get trees planted before and through lockdown. A small number of volunteers used their daily exercise allowance to plant a total of 4,250 trees, whilst abiding by social distancing rules, to help us get our tree stocks in the ground. A fantastic effort, which has only been possible thanks to the great support we’ve had from the local communities we’re planting in and the dedication of our volunteers.
Thank you all for your support. We now have more than 250 volunteers on our mailing list, we’ve raised £5,000 and planted more than 6,000 trees over six sites. Not bad for our first nine months. Lets see what we can do in the next twelve.