BABERGH AND MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILS MEDIA RELEASE
We’re rooting for new parents during COVID-19 and beyond
For immediate release: 29 May 2020
A Tree for Life scheme in Babergh and Mid Suffolk which offers a free tree for new parents, is now open for 2020 applications allowing families to apply from home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Recognising that new parents may be feeling more isolated than usual, and looking for something to look forward to with their new arrival, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have now opened their Tree for Life applications.
It is open to all families in the districts who welcome a new arrival between 1 January and 31 December 2020, in addition to parents who may have lost a child during the same period to apply for a remembrance tree.
The initiative offers parents with a new born or newly adopted child the chance to mark their arrival by planting a tree.
It aims to benefit families, communities and the environment by boosting tree coverage across the district.
This year’s relaunch follows a bumper 2019 scheme with over 400 trees given away earlier in the year, ahead of the coronavirus outbreak.
Tree collection events were held in Stowmarket and Hitcham, where expert help was on hand to advise families on their tree choice and aftercare at home.
Open to all including those without a garden, a selection of trees were also planted with families at key locations in the districts including Needham Lake, Shotley Golden Wood, Broom Hill in Hadleigh, Gallowsfield Wood in Haughley and Sproughton Millennium Green.
Mid Suffolk saw a total of 274 successful applications in 2019, a 53% increase in take up compared to 2018.
In Babergh, where the Tree for Life scheme launched for the first time in November last year, there were 196 applicants.
According to the Office for National Statistics, that means around 30% of families with newborns in our districts applied for the scheme, but now the councils are encouraging even more people to claim their free tree this year.
Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said:
“While we are in uncertain times, I hope that by opening applications now we can give our new families something to look forward to over coming months.
“I’m proud that in just a matter of months, Tree for Life in Babergh has blossomed beyond expectation providing a unique opportunity to benefit our environment and support the county-wide climate ambitions, while also giving families a reason to spend time in the garden planting and nurturing their tree for the years to come.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to claim their free tree.”
Cllr Jessica Fleming, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said:
“I hope that while we face so much uncertainty during the coronavirus outbreak, this news brings our residents some joy to see the smiling faces of families collecting their trees earlier this year.
“The scheme looks to continue to grow year on year in Mid Suffolk, but of course we still want even more families to take up the opportunity and give back to our communities by making sure our environment can be enjoyed by future generations.
“I’d encourage any new parent to apply online before 17 January next year.”
Families can apply for their tree on the councils’ website with 2020 applications closing on 17 January 2021.
Any applications and queries received about the scheme will be processed and responded to later in the year.
The trees must be planted within the two districts and eligible applicants will be invited to choose and collect their tree at a tree giving event expected to be in early 2021.