Just 30 days left for Big Tree Plant funding bids

There are 30 days left to encourage community and voluntary groups to apply for funding from The Big Tree Plant.

The sixth and final funding round for the campaign aiming to plant one million trees by 2015 closes on 30 August.

Groups who win funding hold the buying power - they source the trees themselves, although Big Tree Plant offers guidance.

So far, the campaign has committed to plant almost 965,000 trees with around 475,000 already planted.

An extra 35,000 are needed from this final round in order to hit the target.

To get the funding groups should show the trees will be planted in places, such as parks, streets or community spaces, where local people will benefit from them.

Around 70 per cent of the trees in the programme will be are being planted in England’s most deprived areas.

Funding is available to any community and voluntary group, or other non-profit organisation, which is keen to establish a community-led tree planting project.

Many are being encouraged or supported by local authorities.

Groups working in deprived areas where trees would help to improve residents’ quality of life are particularly encouraged to apply.

Mark Durk, policy advisor at the Forestry Commission, said: "We strongly encourage people to get involved with this campaign and there’s still time to submit an application.

"Anyone can apply – if you know of a piece of land that would benefit from trees, you can either find a local community group to take on the project or consider setting up your own group."

Havant Borough Council arboriculturalist Jamie Gargett said that The Tree Warden volunteer network had worked "extremely hard to gain an incredible amount of funding from The Big Tree Plant."

He added: "The project will enable a wide variety of people and groups from diverse backgrounds to benefit from the grant scheme and become involved in maintaining and enhancing the borough's heritage of magnificent trees."

The £4m Government initiative was launched in 2010 and is being delivered by the Forestry Commission and Defra.

The Tree Council, Trees for Cities and the Community Forests are among the groups also involved.

Around £4 per tree is awarded through the scheme and applicants will need to identify at least 25% of the total cost of their project from other sources. This match-funding can be in cash or in kind.

Advice for those considering a bid is available by calling 0800 856 7984 or clicking here: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-bigtreeplant 

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