Wesleyan, the Birmingham-based financial services mutual, has donated £25,000 to Small Woods Association (SWA) to create four sustainable woodlands across the UK.
The partnership between Wesleyan and the SWA, based in Telford, will produce four woodlands designed to benefit local communities’ health, wellbeing and education in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The first woodland has begun development in Shropshire, within the grounds of Charlton School in Telford, forming part of an outdoor learning area.
Jessica Wilkes-Ball, social responsibility lead at Wesleyan, said: “As a mutual it’s important to us to give back to our community through our Foundation, and support the charities that matter to our members and customers, including those organisations that are building a greener future for us all.
“We are proactively seeking opportunities to be a positive force for change when it comes to sustainability. The extension of our partnership with Small Woods forms a key part of our activities to help improve the natural environment and reduce the impact of carbon emissions.as well as supporting our goal to be operationally carbon neutral by the end of next year.
“Many of our customers are teachers so we’re especially pleased that much of the SWA woodland spaces are used for improved educational and wellbeing purposes which makes this partnership a natural fit for us.”
Julia Allinson, Small Woods Association Development Officer, said: “We are extremely grateful to Wesleyan for extending their support by asking us to deliver four tree planting woodlands in the four nations they serve.
“Wesleyan is a great example of what can be achieved when a corporate organisation works together with locals to ensure benefits can be brought to the community.
“For us, it’s particularly important to see that their values align with ours, specifically to support health, education and the environment.”
The four new woodlands will be part of a wider project by the Small Woods Association to develop more woodlands across the UK with the goal of making them accessible for local communities while also promoting the conservation of the forests.
In 2019 Wesleyan started its relationship with the Small Woods Association providing £6,000 in funding to create a new woodland learning area at Southall School in Telford, a secondary school for pupils with complex needs. The project was designed to promote outdoor learning into the curriculum and a woodland learning area for all abilities, while also encouraging students to look after their own local woodland.
As of this year, Wesleyan has awarded more than £3.5 million to causes across the UK, helping more than 100,000 people through the Wesleyan Foundation
For more information about the Wesleyan Foundation and to apply for funding, visit http://www.wesleyan.co.uk/foundation.