Volunteers and staff from a range of organisations in Torbay are working together to improve local green spaces and give communities an opportunity to grow trees from local seed.

Tree Wardens, staff from SWISCo (a Torbay Council company), volunteers and members of Shekinah Grow Community and staff from Saving Devon’s Treescapes (Devon Wildlife Trust), took part in a seed collecting and processing workshop at Shekinah Grow in Preston Down Road (opposite Occombe Farm), Paignton.

The aim is to develop a new micro-nursery site where volunteers will be able to grow whips and other larger trees that can then be planted at other sites in the Bay. It follows on from the start earlier in the summer of a new tree nursery at Cricketfield in Torquay, which is also looked after by local volunteers.

Shekinah Grow is a therapeutic land-based service, set in the outskirts of Paignton, offering an inclusive and welcoming space for individuals to connect with nature, learn new skills, sometimes to ‘just be.’ Grow promotes a range of mental and physical health benefits through facilitated nature engagement. The overall aim is to improve health by harnessing the link between people and nature.

John Hamblin, Chief Executive Officer of Shekinah, said: “This is another great example of an innovative partnership which supports the broader work of Shekinah across Torbay and most importantly contributes towards the green agenda.”

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, said: “We are very pleased to work with local volunteers and organisations such as Shekinah and Saving Devon’s Treescapes on these two new nurseries, supporting our work to tackle climate change.”

Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “Enhancing our number of trees across Torbay is one of the most important ways we can help tackle climate change so these local schemes are a great way for people to get involved and we know that getting out in green spaces is also really beneficial for physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

This is one of a number of local activities Tree Wardens have been able to get involved with – other projects have included planting trees around the perimeter of Galmpton Football Club, helping to plant the COVID Memorial Tree Trail. We launched the Tree Warden volunteer scheme in August 2021 and now have 80 volunteers signed up.

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