Free trees for newborns takes root for second year

Mid Suffolk councillors and staff with some of the families who collected their trees in the Tree fo

Mid Suffolk councillors and staff with some of the families who collected their trees in the Tree for Life scheme. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

A successful scheme which gifted free fruit trees to newborns last year is set to continue for another year.

The Tree for Life project launched in 2018 by Mid Suffolk District Council and offers any family celebrating a new child, either by birth or adoption, a free tree to plant to mark the occasion.

From fig to apple trees, families are given the option of choosing their preferred tree to grow either in their own gardens or in a community garden.

Following the success of last year’s pilot, council bosses have confirmed it will continue for 2019.

Councillor David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “The wonderful response we’ve had to this pilot scheme has greatly exceeded our expectations.

“To be celebrating in this way the arrival of more than one in five new babies in our district is outstanding, especially as this is the first year we’ve done it, and it gives me great pleasure to announce the scheme will continue into its year.

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“Just like the new life they symbolise, these trees will settle in and begin to flourish over the coming years”

Final figures for 2018 revealed 179 successful applications – the equivalent of 21% of new births expected in the district last year.

An equivalent first year scheme in Cambridgeshire attracted only 24 applications, around 2% of those eligible. in other areas across the country.

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Delighted parents from last year’s pilot collected their trees last month.

The project was originally proposed by the Green group at Mid Suffolk District Council and supported by the Conservative administration.

Andrew Stringer, Green councillor for Mendlesham, said: “This just goes to prove that smaller political groups can get their ideas implemented.

“What a great example of different political groups working together to achieve a positive outcome.

“I would also like to thank the staff involved as they have taken the idea and run with it, turning our ideas into reality.”

Applications can be made for new arrivals in 2019 and by families who didn’t apply last year, with January 10 2020 the deadline for bids.

Visit the council website here to find out more and to apply.

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