Runners take to the streets to encourage more planting

Two charities have teamed up to spread the word about a national tree sponsorship scheme, using the tried and trusted method of door-to-door leafleting.

Growing target: Trees for streets wants to plant 250,000 trees in the next 10 years

Trees for Streets is part of a national urban tree charity, funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Its mission is to fund the planting of more than a quarter of a million additional street trees nationwide over the next 10 years by supplementing council tree planting budgets through public sponsorship.

The Trees for Streets online app makes it easy for anyone wanting to sponsor a street tree in their neighbourhood to make a request to their local council by providing a few simple details.

The council then assesses the chosen location, and if it is suitable, arrangements will be made to plant a tree the following winter, which is the best time to plant young trees to ensure they grow and thrive.

GoodGym is a community of runners, walkers and cyclists who combine getting fit with doing good within the local community. Established in 2010, they are active in 50 and credit the movement’s success to its lean start-up structure and focus on recruiting local enthusiasts to drive things forward in each location.

GoodGym’s Yusra Uney said, “One of GoodGym’s environmental goals is to get involved with more tree planting initiatives and help towards making the air cleaner creating more greener spaces for people to enjoy. Therefore teaming up with Trees for Streets makes so much sense.

“We are really excited about this partnership, together we have national scope to give runners more opportunities to come together as communities, and get fit by doing good.”

Croydon was one of the first councils to join this project, and since the launch of its scheme this summer, requests have been rolling in from local residents for new trees to be planted in streets across the borough.

On the run: Croydon’s GoodGym group has been out leafleting this week

This week, the Croydon GoodGym group braved the wet autumn weather to share information about tree sponsorship with local people, delivering recycled paper leaflets to homes in the area.

Lizzie Pace, from Trees for Streets, said, “We’re excited to be working with GoodGym, as a runner myself I love to bring variety into my workout routine and the GoodGym sessions are a great way to do that while giving something back to the community.

“This is just one of lots of methods we’re using to promote the work Trees for Streets is doing with local councils across the country. There’s no substitute for people who know each area well, and GoodGym members bring a level of energy and enthusiasm that is hard to beat.”

Long term the two charities plan to collaborate both on getting new trees planted and encouraging tree watering in other GoodGym areas across London and nationwide, contributing not only to our environment but also to the individual health and fitness of its members.

Why are street trees important? Street trees can:

  • capture carbon dioxide and produce oxygen
  • improve our health and wellbeing – both physically and mentally
  • absorb air pollution
  • reduce the risks of flooding
  • create shading and cooling – so important in towns and cities
  • make the neighbourhoods where we live that bit nicer

Beyond donating money to sponsor a tree, there are lots of other ways for people to get involved.

Once each street tree is planted, it will need watering every week throughout the summer for at least three years to give it the best chance of survival. Any litter or weeds will need removing too, to make sure it thrives.

GoodGym is running further events to support Trees for Streets this autumn.

For more details on Trees for Streets, click here.

For more on GoodGym, click here.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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