Community groups urged to apply for free tree packs

THE Woodland Trust is encouraging community groups in Coleraine to apply for free tree packs for planting this autumn.

The ‘Trees for Communities’ campaign, which is being supported by IKEA, is in place to try and address Northern Ireland’s lack of woodland. Schools, councils, youth and community groups are all eligible to apply by August 20.

Recent statistics from the Woodland Trust revealed that Northern Ireland is one of the least wooded countries with just seven per cent woodland cover, compared to the European average of 44 per cent.

The tree planting initiative hopes to see thousands of saplings planted throughout Northern Ireland in the next two years.

The Woodland Trust’s Patrick Cregg says: “It is vitally important that communities throughout Northern Ireland share our vision to create more woodland here. Trees and woods are essential to a healthy ecosystem and planting trees now will reap real benefits for future generations.”

IKEA Belfast’s Nigel McGarry said: “Now is the time to address the serious lack of woodland throughout Northern Ireland. IKEA is delighted to support this excellent ‘Trees for Communities’ campaign which is designed to mobilise communities to get involved in tree planting.”

IKEA also aim to raise an additional £500,000 through customer contributions at the checkouts of all IKEA stores, where customers will be invited to donate a £1 for a tree to be planted by a community group. Money raised from both schemes will go towards the Woodland Trust’s ‘Trees for the Community’ scheme.

Successful applications will be informed by October. Applications for spring 2013 packs open on August 21.