The Big Tree Plant has seen 239,000 trees planted across the country with £3.4 million of the funding already allocated to 128 groups, who will be planting more than 813,000 trees.
The scheme, launched by Defra and the Forestry Commission in 2010, is supported by a number of partner organisations and will see a million new trees planted predominantly in towns, cities and neighbourhoods by 2015.
On a visit to the Mount Stewart Junior School in Kenton, David Heath MP, Minister for Forestry met with Year 4 students planting fruit trees with Trees for Cities.
Heath said: "The Big Tree Plant is an opportunity for everyone to help make neighbourhoods attractive and healthy places to live. It’s wonderful to see young people learning to plant and care for trees.
"The Big Tree Plant has been embraced by communities across the country and has proved to be a highly successful partnership between Government, civil society partners and conservation organisations including Trees for Cities.
"Seventy per cent of trees in The Big Tree Plant programme will be planted in England’s most deprived areas."
The planting at Mount Stewart Junior School is part of the London-wide Trees for Cities project which received £240,000 funding from the Big Tree Plant. The project aims to plant 40,000 trees across London over four years.
Trees for Cities Chief Executive Officer said:
"The Big Tree Plant has given us a wonderful opportunity to plant fruit trees in schools and other urban spaces as part of our Trees for Food programme. One of the most important things schools can do is to teach children to grow their own food, helping children to understand where food comes from and how to produce it.
Big Tree Plant for the Forestry Commission head Mark Durk said: "With only £600,000 of funding still to be allocated, now is the time to start planning your Big Tree Plant project with the next round of funding applications closing on the 15 March 2013.
"The level of motivation from partners and volunteers to make the programme a success has been astounding."
www.defra.gov.uk/bigtreeplant/. Community groups can apply for funding visit www.forestry.gov.uk/england-bigtreeplant.