Looking up into a tree canopy

[Source: Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils]

Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s popular Tree for Life scheme, which offers a free tree for new parents, is open once again for 2022 applications.

The scheme is open to all families in the districts who have or are welcoming a new born, or newly adopted child, between 1 January and 31 December 2022. Parents who may have lost a child during the same period are also able to apply for a remembrance tree.

The initiative offers parents the chance to mark their arrival by planting a tree. It also aims to benefit families, communities and the environment by boosting tree coverage across the district.

So far, the councils have given out well over a thousand trees through Tree for Life, with 450 families applying in 2021.

Applicants from 2021 collected their trees during this year’s tree planting season in March, with expert help on hand to advise families on their tree choice and aftercare at home.

Also open to those without a garden, a selection of the trees continue to be planted at key locations in the districts including Needham Lake, Shotley Golden Wood, Broom Hill in Hadleigh, Gallowsfield Wood in Haughley and Sproughton Millennium Green.

Sam Evans, who previously applied for a tree for her son Harrison, said:

“It’s a really special scheme, even if you don’t have space in your garden, you can plant it locally and visit your tree.

“Harrison is such an outdoorsy boy; he loves being outside. He’s always shown a real interest in the garden, in the plants and the trees. It’s lovely to have the tree in our garden as something sentimental for the family.

“As parents, we’re aware of the benefits trees bring, but being able to teach that to little ones with this hands-on experience, brings it all together.”

40 families have already applied to the 2022 scheme, but the councils are encouraging even more people to apply for their tree on the councils’ website before the 10 January 2023 deadline.

Cllr Jane Gould, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable transport, said:

“Our well-loved Tree for Life scheme continues to be very popular, with hundreds of new parents applying every year. So, if you’re eligible and haven’t already, please make sure you apply to claim your free tree.

“It’s a special way to benefit both our environment and support county-wide climate ambitions, while also giving families a reason to spend time in the garden planting and nurturing their tree for years to come.”

Cllr Jessica Fleming, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said:

“Tree for Life is our way of celebrating Mid Suffolk’s new arrivals. It also allows us to give back to our communities, and make sure our environment can be enjoyed by future generations, in line with our biodiversity and climate change ambitions.

“I’d encourage any new parents in the district to apply, and join more than 1,000 families who are already enjoying their trees both now and, over the years to come.”

The trees must be planted within the two districts. Applications will be processed following the closing date, with eligible applicants invited to choose and collect their tree in 2023.

The Tree for Life scheme is just one of many steps already being taken by the councils to support biodiversity in their patch, including: