Locals crowdfund to raise money for street tree planting on Riverfield Drive

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A residents’ association in Bedford has launched a crowdfunding campaign to improve their area by planting trees along the busy roadside.

The residents of Riverfield Drive are hoping that by funding the 15 trees, it will help tackle the issues of speeding, pollution and littering in the area.

The project is part of Bedford Borough Council’s tree sponsorship scheme on the Trees for Streets national tree sponsorship platform this summer and you can contribute to the crowdfunder here.

The Riverfield Drive community group already organise litter picks in the area and know the value of taking pride in where you live.

“There’s a positive and proactive community focus to our group,” explained lead volunteer, Gemma Lane. “We wanted to do something that would benefit the whole community and this project is something that could easily be replicated by other residents’ groups in Bedford.

“We’d love it if other groups followed our lead and crowdfunded for trees in their areas too.”

Riverfield Litter Heroes at a recent community litter pick

Trees for Streets is a project by Trees for Cities, the national urban tree charity, funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

Its mission is to fund the planting of 1/4 of a million extra street trees nationwide over the next ten years, by supplementing council tree planting budgets through public sponsorship.

Why are street trees important?

Street trees can make a real difference to an urban environment. Not only do they immediately enhance the visual aesthetic of a street but they also:

• capture carbon dioxide and produce oxygen
• improve our health and wellbeing – both physically and mentally
• absorb air pollution
• improve air quality by acting like natural filters
• protect us from flooding
• create shading and cooling – so important for us and our four-legged friends
• make the neighbourhoods where we live that bit nicer

An artist’s impression of the trees on Riverfield Drive

Cllr Hilde Hendrickx, whose ward covers Riverfield Drive, said: “The scheme we are running with Trees for Streets makes it easy for local residents to get directly involved in improving their neighbourhoods by getting even more trees planted.

“As Newnham ward councillors both I and Cllr Jake Sampson are delighted to support this community initiative.”

Residents of the Riverfield area, as well as local businesses, are invited to contribute to the online crowdfunding campaign which aims to raise £4,500 to find the 15 trees.

The trees will be 3 – 4 metres high when they’re planted, so residents will see the immediate impact of their fundraising.

“We love our neighbourhood, and feel that the benefits trees can bring, such as helping to calm speeding traffic, combat pollution and generally making the area greener will help to address some of the negative aspects of living along an increasingly busy road,” said Gemma.

“So far we’ve raised enough to sponsor six trees along Riverfield Drive, which is an amazing start.”

You can contribute to the Riverfield Drive campaign here and find out more about the Bedford Trees for Streets scheme here.

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