Holden & Partners are pleased to announce that we introduced a Charity Team, earlier this year!

As part of our initiative, employees have been granted 2 days every year to volunteer at a charity that we support. The interest and uptake of this scheme has been fantastic, and in October, twelve members of staff visited a primary school in Lambeth, to help a charity called Trees for Cities.

One branch (excuse the pun) of the charity aims to increase the number of trees planted in urban areas. Trees in urban environments have an important role to play by: producing oxygen; cleaning our air; protecting us from flooding; protecting the wildlife; and they have also been proven to help our mental health and wellbeing.

London’s trees remove 2.4 million tonnes of air pollution each year. As a reference, the average car emits around 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, so it’s clear to see how much of an impact the big, green air filters can have on air quality. A single, mature, leafy tree can also absorb up to 450 litres of water each day, helping to lessen the impact of flooding.

Since its inception in 1993, Trees for Cities has planted a total of 840,000 trees and are on track to meet their target of planting 1 million trees by 2020.
The second branch of Trees for Cities is its Edible Playground Initiative, which we were proud to be a part of. One in three children leaving primary school are overweight or obese, and through the creation of edible playgrounds, the charity aims to help combat this issue.

The edible playgrounds are areas of a school’s playground that have been transformed into a space where vegetables are grown for use in the school kitchen and for outdoor science lessons, to teach the children about the benefits of growing and eating healthy food.

Not only do these playgrounds help educate the children with regards to healthy eating, but teaching in an outdoor environment has been shown to increase mental health by boosting mood, confidence and self-esteem.

Some of our tasks for the day included:

  • Filling a number of raised beds in which onions, garlic, beans and other vegetables will be grown. Between us we moved over 10 tonnes of soil!
  • Building two greenhouses for those vegetables which prefer a slightly warmer climate or are slightly more delicate in their early months (such as, tomatoes and cucumbers).
  • Digging and levelling the ground to prepare an area where benches will be situated to provide seating during lessons and breaks.

The aches and pains that followed the next day were well worth it, and we all agreed it was very satisfying and fulfilling to see the fruits (or should I say vegetables…) of our labour. We hope the children enjoy the taste of their new playground!

For more information regarding Trees for Cities, please feel free to visit their website by following this link: https://www.treesforcities.org/

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