Community Forest Trust (CFT) is the national Community Forestry charity. Its mission is to champion and support the work of community forestry organisations across England and communicate the wide range of benefits that trees and woods deliver. CFT is passionate about the power of trees to transform urban environments and it aims to be innovative, share knowledge and collaborate to achieve best practice in the field of community forestry.
Advocacy is a core part of CFT’s mission. It works to persuade policy makers that trees and woods should feature higher on the agenda and policies should provide greater opportunity for planting as well as the protection and preservation of our woodlands. CFT also aims to unlock funding and resources to support community forestry across England.
Alongside this work, CFT also has a number of national programmes of work which it has developed and facilitates. These includes:
The Trees for Climate programme launched in December 2020, with the announcement of £12.1million of funding through the Government’s Nature for Climate fund. In the first year of the programme, Trees for Climate has seen trees planted in community forests right across the country. When mature these will eventually store over 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, playing an important role in the meeting the government’s net zero emissions by 2050 target.
As well as helping the UK’s efforts to reach net zero, Trees for Climate will also reduce ﬂood risk, increase sustainably UK grown timber, provide more places for nature and biodiversity to thrive, and increase people’s access to and enjoyment of woodland. Trees for Climate will create new jobs and secure existing ones within the forestry and environmental sector, helping to boost local economies as part of a green recovery.
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) is a £10 million government fund for planting both large and small trees in and around towns and cities in England. The fund is being delivered by the Forestry Commission, as part of their work to expand woodlands and tree cover across England. CFT helps to facilitate bidding for this fund with City of Trees in Greater Manchester and The Mersey Forest both delivering the project across their respective areas.
The Community Forests in the north – The Mersey Forest, City of Trees, White Rose Forest, and HEYwoods – are working with The Woodland Trust to bring the Northern Forest to life. An area home to 13 million people, it only has 7.6% woodland cover – much lower than the England average. Our plan for an additional 50 million trees will transform this landscape and create a real asset for the communities that live nearby.
Currently CFT is directly supporting The Mersey Forest in North Cheshire and Merseyside, City of Trees in Greater Manchester, White Rose Forest in the Leeds City Region and Heywoods in Kingston upon Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. CFT also supports all 12 of England’s Community Forests.