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Network Homes and partners plant a new mini-forest in Wembley

02 December 2022

We joined partners Wates Living Space, Brent Council and residents to plant a new ‘Miyawaki’ forest at King Edward VII Park in Wembley. Volunteers gathered on Thursday 1 December to plant 600 trees at the 200 square metre site that will be known the ‘Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Forest’ after the late monarch.

Group shot of Mayor, the Choir and local residents

Brent Mayor Cllr Abdi Aden and pupils from nearby Park Lane Primary School planted the final trees with the volunteers then enjoying well deserved refreshments.

The Miyawaki forest is the brainchild of Nichola Rogers, resident of Network Homes, with the work being fully funded by Wates. Such mini-forests are named after the Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki and is a method of using a range of native woodland species of trees that would occur naturally in that area by creating a diverse, multi-layered woodland. The trees will be planted at very high densities and will be beneficial to wildlife in an area around the size of a tennis court.

Group shot of Mayor and Brent cabinet member planting trees

Nichola said: “Projects like this create environmental awareness and bring attention to the many reasons why it's so important to have more green spaces. With the ever-changing climate, green spaces help fight biodiversity loss, filter general environmental pollution and capture heavy metals, as well as offsetting carbon emissions. It also provides a variety of mental and physical benefits for people too. It feels amazing to have manifested Brent’s first Miyawaki urban forest, I would love to create more urban forests in Brent and around London. I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity and for the support of the amazing companies I worked with.”

The project has been funded by Wates Living Space who have donated £6,500 to make the project possible through its wider social value commitment within Brent. The forest will be fenced off for the next 12 months to allow it to grow and following this it will be fully open to the public.

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We’re pleased to be working with partners Wates, Brent Council and residents to create this new mini-forest which will benefit the community for generations to come. This is a great example of truly grass roots engagement. I’m very grateful for the original proposal by a resident of Network Homes and the work of so many people who have turned it into reality.

Jamie Ratcliff, Network Homes Executive Director of People, Partnerships and Sustainability

James Gregg, Managing Director of South Planned Maintenance at Wates Living Space, said: “The plans for the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Forest have been in development between Wates Living Space, Brent Council and Network Homes for a year and it is a very proud moment for the team to see the plans come to life. We work with social landlords across London to create high quality, safe and sustainable homes for residents and our work gives us a valuable opportunity to work in the wider community and make a positive difference.”

Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment at Brent Council, commented: “Tree planting is fantastic – not only does it suck out CO2 from the air, but it also creates more vibrant and beautiful spaces that all residents can be proud of. Studies even show that walking through green spaces can improve mental health, so it really is a win, win. That is why I am so happy that along with partner organisations we are supporting this tree planting project.

“Thank you to all the amazing volunteers and organisations who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to life.”

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