Following months of planning, we finally launched our Trees for Reading initiative at a breakfast briefing at Thames Lido on Tuesday 26 November.
Our aim is to bring more trees to the town – more than 3,000 over the next five years. To achieve this, we’re inviting local organisations to sponsor their planting and care.
Working closely with Reading Borough Council and Reading Tree Wardens, we hope to find places for 10% of the trees within the area defined by the IDR (inner distribution road). This is the area where it’s most challenging to find suitable sites, due to all the hard surfacing and underground infrastructure, however it’s where the trees could have the greatest impact.
We plan to put another 50% in other areas close to the town centre, especially school grounds and deprived neighbourhoods. The remaining 40% will be planted elsewhere around the borough.
We’re focusing on substantial young trees (3-3.5 metres tall and 12-14cm around the trunk). Our advisors at RBC and Reading Tree Wardens tell us that, with the right care, these are most likely to survive and thrive in an urban setting.
You can find out more about the initiative on our Trees for Reading page.
Thames Lido – our trailblazing sponsor
Thames Lido was the first sponsor to sign up to support Trees for Reading, way back in June, when they pledged all the revenue from their new parking charge to the initiative.
Mark Thwaites, the lido’s operations director, commented, “Since we’ve started charging £5 to park in our little car park, we’ve raised nearly £3,600 for our friends over at Ethical Reading in the first two months.”
“100% of the money we take will go to their Trees for Reading initiative. It’s great that people understand that their money is going to a good cause and not into our pockets.”
We were delighted when the lido team agreed not only to host our breakfast briefing on the challenge of climate change but to find a space for us to plant our first tree. We planted it at the end of the briefing, with help from Councillor Karen Rowland, whose support and energy has helped us get off to a really strong start.
Why urban trees?
There has been a lot of talk lately about the amazing potential of trees to help combat the rising threat of climate change, and this is a great reason for planting more trees on its own.
However, trees planted in urban areas offer a huge range of additional benefits, not least for human wellbeing. For example, they help to reduce health problems related to air pollution, encourage people to be more active and alleviate stress and depression. They also improve the local environment, helping to regulate air temperature, increase biodiversity and reduce the risk of flooding and erosion.
In the run-up to the launch, Ethical Reading director Gill Ringland, commented, “The volunteers on our sustainability team have worked really hard to develop this exciting initiative. We hope Trees for Reading will make a significant contribution to helping the town mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as improving the wellbeing of its inhabitants.”
How can you get involved?
Your organisation could sponsor a tree or offer planting space
The standard fee to sponsor a tree is £385. This covers careful sourcing of a substantial young tree and two years of care, to maximise its chances of thriving long term, and includes a 10% management fee to pay for professional support services.
Maybe your business could take a leaf out of Thames Lido’s book and come up with an innovative way to raise the funds!
We’re also looking for spaces on privately owned land where we might be able to plant trees, the closer to Reading town centre the better.
To sponsor a tree or offer a possible planting space, please email Gill at [email protected].
You could donate to our crowdfunding campaign
After we revealed our plans at the Reading Town Meal back in September, a few people told us that they would like to make personal donations. So we’re now running a Just Giving crowdfunding campaign too, to build up a community tree planting fund.
Feel free to donate any amount you like at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ethical-reading.
If you run a small business and aren’t in a position to sponsor a whole tree, donating to this fund could be a more affordable way of getting involved.
You could help us spread the word
Since the launch we’ve had some great exposure in the local media, with articles in The Reading Chronicle and In Your Area and an interview on That’s TV Thames Valley. But we really need your help to keep the momentum going.
Here are a few ideas of ways you could help us get the word out about Trees for Reading:
- If you work in Reading, perhaps you could suggest the idea of sponsoring a tree to your employer.
- If you hear of a company that’s looking to support a worthwhile cause, please mention Trees for Reading.
- If you’re a teacher, maybe you could encourage your pupils to write to the employers of their parents or guardians, suggesting they might sponsor a tree.
- If you follow us on social media, it would be fantastic if you could share our posts about Trees for Reading.
We really appreciate all the positive feedback and support we’ve received about the initiative so far. We’re looking forward to working together with the local community to bring more trees to our town.