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Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

The Conservation Foundation’s Trees for Sacred Spaces project is enabling churches in the London, Southwark, Chelmsford and Rochester dioceses to plant trees that support bees and other pollinators as part of the Mayor’s ambition to make London one of the greenest cities in the world. The tree plantings will also offer an opportunity for churches to organise events and ceremonies that involve members of other faiths in their parishes to celebrate and help to enhance the environments that people of all faiths and no faith share.

There are over 600 churchyards or areas of church land within Greater London.  Whilst not all churches have suitable spaces, those with no space to plant a tree will be encouraged to donate one to a school or community garden within their parish, helping to increase London’s tree canopy cover and support bees and other wildlife to thrive in London.

Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, says:

“The Diocese of Chelmsford happily serves a large part of East London: lots of people, lots of buildings, vibrant communities, but not enough trees. We are delighted to be part of this initiative and where possible and appropriate look forward to seeing new trees planted in the churchyards we look after and all across our capital. To plant a tree is to invest in someone else's future.”

Welcoming the involvement of churches, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, says, “The Mayor wants London to be one of the world’s greenest cities and is introducing a wide range of measures to fulfil this ambition: a first step has been the commitment to provide £750,000 to plant more than 40,000 new London trees this winter, including helping The Conservation Foundation plant more than 600 trees in or near churchyards across London.”

David Shreeve, director of The Conservation Foundation, says, “A fifth of the capital is already covered by trees but some parts of London are short of greenery. Churches can play an important role in helping to make these areas look and feel better by planting one of the trees. All the trees available will be bee-friendly and therefore as well as benefiting London’s landscape and atmosphere they will also be supporting the capital’s pollinators.”

The trees will be available between March and June 2017. Those wishing to take part are asked to visit www.conservationfoundation.co.uk/trees to find out more and to register to receive trees.

Picture from left: Bishops of London, Chelmsford and Salisbury, Shirley Rodrigues, Bishop of Southwark.