Tiny Forest Partnership Celebrates Launch of New Community Engagement Project Thanks to National Lottery Funding - Earthwatch

Tiny Forest Partnership Celebrates Launch of New Community Engagement Project Thanks to National Lottery Funding

Earthwatch Europe, GoodGym, and the Botanic Garden of the University of Dundee celebrated the launch of an exciting new community engagement project with twin Tiny and Wee Forest events held in England and Scotland.

‘Tiny and Wee Forests – Branching out to new communities’ is a new partnership project, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund through its Climate Action Fund, made possible thanks to National Lottery players.

Earthwatch Europe, GoodGym, and a network of Scottish environmental organisations have been awarded almost £395,000 to engage people from marginalised groups with the Tiny Forest movement in England and Scotland. The aim is to engage those who face barriers to participation in the Tiny Forest project because of mental health issues, age, disability or health, neurodivergence, socioeconomic pressures, as well as reaching LGBTQIA+ and ethnic minority communities.

Over the coming 2.5 years, the project will work with 60 communities across England and Scotland to connect people with creating and sustaining Tiny Forests. The funding will specifically support the creation of a new Community Engagement and Diversity Manager role at Earthwatch, and will also support staff time within GoodGym to connect their network with their local Tiny Forests.

At the parallel launch events in England and Scotland, the partnership engaged with 8 staff and patients from Oxford Health NHS Trust, and a group of 17 GoodGym participants ran 2.8km to join the event in Scotland.

There are over 200 Tiny Forests across the UK looked after by over 600 Tree Keeper volunteers. The project, pioneered by environmental charity Earthwatch Europe in the UK, is based on the Miyawaki planting method from Japan which aims to create fast-growing miniature woodlands that develop into a natural forest ecosystem as they grow.

Each forest is made up of approximately 600 densely planted native trees and shrubs covering a space the size of a tennis court. Located in urban settings, Tiny Forests aim to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide havens for wildlife and connect people with nature in their local area. Earthwatch identifies suitable sites in locations where nature is most needed, working with partners, local councils, community groups and schools to plan, design, prepare, plant, maintain and monitor their local forest.

Thanks to National Lottery players, The National Lottery Community Fund will distribute at least £4 billion by 2030, supporting activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

Louise Hartley, Tiny Forest Senior Programme Manager at Earthwatch, said:

“We are thrilled to be working in a new partnership thanks to the funding provided by The National Lottery Community Fund. This project will enable us to better reach audiences that face barriers to accessing nature and Tiny Forest, bringing the wonder and benefits of nature to many of the people that need them most.”

 Jack Da Silva, Tiny Forest Lead at GoodGym:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Earthwatch thanks to this funding from the National Lottery. It will enable us to expand the amount of GoodGym areas supporting their local Tiny Forest. There are multiple benefits of being in natural green spaces and we are excited to involve many more communities in accessing them.”

Mel Eaglesfield, Deputy Director at The National Lottery Community Fund said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we’re delighted to support the delivery of this brand new inclusive community engagement project, and welcome these new members to our Climate Action Fund network.

“The award fits with The National Lottery Community Fund’s four key missions, which are to support communities to come together, be environmentally sustainable, help children and young people thrive and enable people to live healthier lives.

“We’re greatly looking forward to seeing the difference this programme can make to marginalised communities in both England and Scotland.”

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