Stonewater plants trees as part of the Northern Forest in a UK housing first

Leading national housing association, Stonewater, has partnered with Community Forest Trust (CFT) to plant trees as it builds more affordable homes.

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A plaque was unveiled by Stonewater’s Chair, George Blunden, at the spot where Stonewater’s trees were planted at the first in series of tree planting events held at Pontefract Park, Pontefract, West Yorkshire on Wednesday (27 March 2019). This will help to expand the White Rose Forest, which forms part of the new Northern Forest.

The event marked the start of the partnership between Stonewater and the CFT. Further events are planned across England which will also see Stonewater customers involved over the coming months as the two organisations plant trees which will help mitigate the impact of climate change and create attractive places to live, work and invest in.

The affordable home provider will donate £50 to the CFT for every house it builds, helping to plant five trees and connect more people to nature, as well as planting as least one tree for every house they build on each development.

Stonewater is the first registered provider in the UK to demonstrate its commitment to its environmental responsibilities in this way by helping to plant six trees for each new home they build.

Stonewater’s vision, ‘for everyone to have the opportunity to have a place that they can call home’ is key as the housing association tackles the housing crisis while it also remains committed to its wider social purpose.

Stonewater recognises that it isn’t just about the number of homes they build, there is also a need to focus on the quality, design, sense of place and the legacy of the new homes constructed. The partnership with the CFT demonstrates Stonewater’s commitment to protecting the environment and creating sustainable communities.

Stonewater’s Chair, George Blunden, said: “I am delighted to announce our partnership with Community Forest Trust to help protect the environment.

We are pleased to be the leading sector figure in this area, and we encourage other organisations to do more to leave a legacy for the future generations. Stonewater has many commitments: to provide affordable homes, to tackle the housing shortage and to serve our social purpose.

Today is an important day when we have planted our very first tree as part of the Northern Forest project, a great opportunity to deploy a natural solution that’s much older than we are but has the most contemporary relevance to the work we do.”

Community Forest Trust’s Fundraising Manager, Sian Day, said: “We are excited to embark on this partnership with Stonewater. The Northern Forest will unlock many environmental as well as social benefits.

Trees help to reduce the urban heat island effect and improve the air quality. They can also create a sense of community and improve mental health and wellbeing.

As a charity, we rely on donations and the support of organisations like Stonewater to achieve the vision of the Northern Forest. Together we will continue to champion the many positive community impacts that arise when planting more trees.”