The biggest local independent charity working with the elderly is turning to trees to help lonely pensioners.

Age UK Nottingham and Nottinghamshire is marking its 75th anniversary with the Trees of Life campaign, with the aim of planting 750 trees across the city and county. The hope is that offers of sponsorship for each sapling will help fund vital services for the elderly.

Trees of Life also includes a bid, with Sherwood Forest Trust, for AVIVA Community Fund finance to support inter-generational tree-planting projects.

The public can support Trees of Life in two ways …

  • Sponsoring a tree in a dedicated copse. The suggested donation is £75, which covers tree maintenance, a certificate and commemorative booklet. Inquiries can be made on Freephone 0800 088 6349 or via getinvolved@ageuknotts.org.uk
  • Voting for the Sherwood Forest Trust bid on www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk – but remembering that the deadline for votes – November 21 – is less than a fortnight away.

The tree-planting programme, supported by Rothera Sharp Solicitors, will involve saplings donated by the Woodland Trust. Planting locations include copses at Cotgrave Country Park, Cinderhill and Tippings Wood, Blidworth, as well as community locations available for corporate sponsorship.

“Our goal is to raise £75,000,” said a spokesman for Age UK Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

“Trees create the oxygen of life. Nottinghamshire is renowned worldwide for its protection and preservation of older trees. So by sponsoring an Age UK Notts tree, you are not only enhancing our environment but also the lives of older people in our city and county.”

Every £75 given to the charity could fund eight hour-long visits to lonely older people, or eight hour-long ‘Men in Sheds’ sessions at which participants learn woodworking skills. And for every £75 invested in the charity’s benefits advice service, £1,377 of extra income is put back onto the pockets of the elderly.

Tree sponsorship will help fund Age UK home visits
Tree sponsorship will help fund Age UK home visits (Image: Susie Bateman)

The AVIVA Community Fund gives good causes the chance to compete for funds made available by the multinational insurance company. Members of the public must register on the website (see above) before casting their 10 votes.

Explaining the aims of the bid with Sherwood Forest Trust, Age UK fundraising director Maggie Ross said: “This excising collaboration will allow us to have planting days whereby schoolchildren, their parents and older people will plant trees together, which will get students out of the classroom and reduce loneliness and isolation among older generations.

“The effect of older people working with younger generations is well documented as being beneficial both physically and mentally. In doing so, this will also develop local urban and rural community cohesion.”

Sherwood Forest Trust and Age UK need public votes for the project. Said trust chief executive Patrick Candler: “Planting a tree is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and commemorate the lives of loved ones across Nottinghamshire.

Maggie Ross of Age UK
Maggie Ross of Age UK

“As trees grow and flourish they provide the oxygen for life and the wider environment, providing food, shelter, beauty and pleasure.

“This year is especially important for all of us and for the celebration of our forests as it is the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the original charter of the forest.

“With this project we will be able to bring Britain’s iconic heart of oak, the ancient historic Sherwood Forest and its legendary hero Robin Hood to the centre of what we do. So what better way to celebrate the county’s forests and woodlands by planting more trees to leave a continuous, lasting legacy?”

Sherwood Forest Trust was established in 1995 as the only charity whose sole purpose is the protection, preservation and promotion of Sherwood Forest. For more information visit http://sherwoodforest.org.uk

Age UK Nottingham and Nottinghamshire provides a wide range of services for the elderly, and last year helped more than 42,000 people. For more information about the charity, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/notts