Hundreds of school children and local residents have dug in at Northwood's new community woodland to plant trees at this rapidly improving green space on the neighbourhood's doorstep.
Before Christmas, pupils from Northwood Community Primary School dug in at a tree planting day with Cllr Eddie Connor, Knowsley Council's member for The Mersey Forest, to kick off Knowsley's part in national The Big Tree Plant campaign, with some of the trees co-funded by The Woodland Trust through their MOREwoods project.
In March 2012, the school returned for a second round of tree planting, along with eager pupils from Eastcroft Primary, St.Marie's Catholic Primary and teenagers from All Saints Centre for Learning, with more than 100 youngsters involved across two days of planting. The events were organised by Knowsley Council and delivered by The Mersey Forest as part of The Big Tree Plant. BTCV also held a community tree planting day with local residents, and a consultation is underway to name the site.
This community involvement has taken place alongside ongoing work to put the finishing touches to the transformation of the site, including welcoming new entrances, all-access paths and installation of signage, seating and bins, plus habitat works including tree planting, woodland management and further work on the pond and wetland habitats. This work will be completed by June 2012.
Meanwhile, in the surrounding neighbourhood a further 50 street trees have been planted to add to the 160 planted in 2011, all as part of The Mersey Forest's Green Streets programme.
The Green Streets planting and improvements to the main Northwood site have been funded by £247,000 funding through the Forestry Commission's Setting the Scene for Growth programme (funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency / UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills). This funding is matched by £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund 'Community Spaces Fund' and a further £30,000 from the Forestry Commission's English Woodland Grant Scheme. Additional funds have come from Marks & Spencer 'Green Living Places' fund and the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund 'Environmental Blight Fund'.
This success has been the culmination of work between a range of partners including The Mersey Forest, Knowsley MBC, 2020 Knowsley and the local community.