The Community Tree Nursery at Thames Chase Forest centre is to be revitalized with funding from the Thames Chase Trust; the National Lottery Heritage Fund; and the Greater London Authority Greener City Fund. The project is a partnership between the Thames Chase Trust and the Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme.

The regeneration of the Community Tree Nursery at the Forest Centre will provide all-ability access to local schools, groups and individuals from the community. The refreshed facility will engage local people in the life cycle of trees; from collecting seeds, to growing saplings and physically planting on sites across Thames Chase.

With a growing understanding of the importance of trees and their multiple benefits, the Community Tree Nursery will become an important local facility, helping to support the aims of the Thames Chase Plan and its ambition to increase tree cover across the Community Forest.

Vital funding from the Thames Chase Trust and the National Lottery Heritage Fund has enabled the recruitment of a dedicated Community Tree Nursery & Engagement Officer. Alex Hewitt joined the Trust in January 2020 and will manage the nursery, enabling it to grow and nurture locally sourced native trees and shrubs; to educate local people about trees; and to engage the local community in this process.

Alex said: “It’s an amazing opportunity, working on a local level but making a difference on a larger scale. Being uniquely dedicated to the Community Tree Nursery and being a new face has given me a fresh perspective on what needs to be done. Between my role, our brilliant volunteers and community engagement, we can get this important part of the Thames Chase Plan, back on track for future long-term provision.”

Alex is now looking for volunteers who have the time and enthusiasm to support this important and exciting project. Anyone who would like to be involved, please contact alex.hewitt@thameschase.org.uk or call the Thames Chase Forest Centre on 01708 642970.

Dave Bigden (Forest Development Manager) said: “Since the first Thames Chase Plan in 1993, there has been an aspiration to create a Community Tree Nursery resource at the heart of the Community Forest. The funding provided by Thames Chase Trust, Land of the Fanns and the Greater London Authority provides significant investment and a partnership response to a genuine need to bring this valuable local facility back into effective management. To be able to educate and engage the local community in this project means that the nursery can truly play its part in ‘transforming landscapes, transforming lives’.”