As we continue our commitment to the 1% for the Planet programme, The Mailing Room is delighted to announce a new partnership with vetted Environmental Partner, City of Trees. City of Trees are a Manchester based organisation, like us, who are proud to call Greater Manchester home and are passionate about making our region even better, one tree at a time. City of Trees plant trees, look after trees and promote a culture of trees across Greater Manchester to create better, greener places that boost health and wellbeing, enhance green skills, and tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency. To do this they enlist the help of brilliant volunteers and an ever-growing network of communities, businesses, and organisations – of which we are now proud to be a part. 


City of Trees’ focus on not only the environmental benefits of tree planting and biodiversity improvements, but also the social value of these initiatives led us to explore how we could support them in a project that benefits our local environment and the people that interact with it on a daily basis. We are delighted to say that we will be partnering with City of Trees to help them revitalise Barnfield Park to create a Community hub that gives back to the local environment and local people. 


Barnfield Park, Prestwich is a 1.79-hectare council owned horticultural site located just seven miles from our office with a rich history as the former site of a floral nursery that contributed to the locally famous Bury in Bloom yearly celebration. The park has unfortunately fallen into disrepair after a number of years but represents a fantastic opportunity for redevelopment. The site has ample space to reinvigorate the current tree planting beds, polytunnels and greenhouses – many of which were state-of-the-art when installed and still stand now. City of Trees plan for the site is to create a multifunctional hub for community activity, volunteering, and a training ground for bringing people back into employment through creating pathways into green jobs. The centre will celebrate, promote, and help preserve the natural heritage of the local area and beyond. 

To create a new, impactful space City of Trees have developed a two-stage approach with the first step to create a tree nursery that will help the team develop new techniques and methods for preserving and growing local, climate reliant species of trees. TMR have committed to assisting City of Trees in this initial step through match funding a DEFRA, Tree Production Capital Grant. This will allow City of Trees to fully complete phase one of the plan, with phase two a longer project regarding larger funding that can hopefully be gained through demonstrating the success of the park. 


The tree nursery built in phase one will act as a hub to engage and help connect local residents to their natural environment by offering a space to learn and access training on how best to preserve our urban forest. City of Trees will use this space to explore how individuals and groups can play in preserving our natural heritage thus creating the next generation of custodians of the urban forest.


The newly refurbished polytunnels will also provide a space for training groups of individuals in best practice tree production, whilst bringing people back into employment through urban and community forestry. The space will also be home to training courses which will be designed to teach green skills to a range of service users which will help address the labour shortage within the forestry sector and provide opportunities for people to take direct action in helping to improve our natural environment.

Phase two involves the redevelopment of the rest of the site including building a classroom for outreach work, office space for the City of Trees staff and redeveloping the existing greenhouse structures. The vision is to create a National Centre of Urban Forestry in Greater Manchester which will attract and inspire future generations of urban foresters. This will make Barnfield a central part of the local community, an inclusive space where people can come to share ideas and learn about Urban Forestry. The site will be a base for community engagement opportunities, using the benefits of nature to promote good health and wellbeing and to help share skills which will preserve our natural environment.


We are proud to support City of Trees on this journey and look forward to working with them, and getting our hands dirty on site, as this project comes to fruition.

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