Whitehouse pupils transform school grounds

IKEA 's Nigel McGarry and the Woodland Trust's Patrick Cregg help pupils Lauren Crossley and Molly Worthington plant trees at Whitehouse PS Nursery Unit. Pic by Brian Little, Presseye
IKEA 's Nigel McGarry and the Woodland Trust's Patrick Cregg help pupils Lauren Crossley and Molly Worthington plant trees at Whitehouse PS Nursery Unit. Pic by Brian Little, Presseye

SCHOOLS, youth groups and community groups right across the country are brightening up local landscapes with the gift of free trees.

The unmissable offer comes from the Woodland Trust’s ‘Trees for the Community’ scheme, supported by IKEA FAMILY.

The two are helping communities to breathe new life into shared spaces through the simple act of tree planting. And this month saw 542 groups throughout the UK, including 30 in Northern Ireland, receiving and planting over 6,000 saplings.

At Whitehouse Primary School Nursery Unit last week, more than 50 children, from as young as three years old, rolled up their sleeves to plant a mix of silver birch, rowan and wild cherry.

Nursery teacher, Caroline Spratt said: “The children had a fantastic time getting their hands dirty and planting the trees. They have created their very own outdoor classroom which, in a short space of time, will be a precious habitat for wildlife. This will be a wonderful natural resource for the entire primary and nursery school; a place where they can really get to grips with nature. And, at various times of the year, we hope to open this area up to parents and the wider community.”

IKEA Belfast’s Nigel McGarry added: “Trees and woods offer undoubted benefits. They enhance the landscape, provide health benefits and even promote a sense of wellbeing. We want as many people as possible to have access to trees and are delighted to support ‘Trees for the Community’. Each time the IKEA FAMILY card is swiped in-store IKEA makes a donation to the scheme, and our customers are helping too by ‘pledging a tree’ at till points. The overall aim is to plant one million trees throughout the UK by the end of 2013.

“I had the memorable opportunity of taking part in the tree planting with Whitehouse Nursery, and am truly heartened by the efforts and enthusiasm of our young people.”

The Woodland Trust is now encouraging schools and community groups to apply for a free tree pack for planting this November. Groups can choose between packs of 30, 105 or 420 saplings, depending on how much space they have available. There are different mixes of species to choose from too, including packs themed for year-round colour, wood fuel and wildlife.

For full details log on to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ikeacommunitytrees