When Birmingham Trees for Life was set up 16 years ago under the enthusiastic guidance of the late Cllr Ray Hassall, tree planting was not as much a part of our community’s conscience as it is in 2022. A partnership between The Birmingham Civic Society, Birmingham City Council (BCC) and the Birmingham Trees for Life project (BTfL) has led to some remarkable milestones, which includes planting 100,000 trees in our city.

Since 1918 the Birmingham Civic Society has been working to make Birmingham a better place for everyone, with one of the first key initiatives being securing land to create the city’s open green spaces and improving existing parks. The synergy between the Society’s aim to improve the public realm for citizens and the green agenda of BTfL meant becoming the home of tree planting in Birmingham was an honour for the Society. For the last 16 years, supported by our dedicated members, Birmingham Civic Society has enabled BTfL to concentrate on bringing tree planting to life for people in our city and continue improving our green spaces.

In recent years there has been a proliferation in the number of tree-related projects, groups and organisations involved in tree-related initiatives in the City and region, which has been incredibly welcome to see. Given the changing landscape of tree planting projects, it has been vital as a matter of good governance to rethink the future of the Birmingham Trees for Life Project. After much deliberation it was decided that the project needed to evolve, and the committee ceased its tree planting and tree promotion activities at the end of the season in March 2022.

The Society and BTfL wish to honour the legacy of achievements, and to preserve and develop that legacy for the people of Birmingham, therefore we are delighted that the role of the BTFL project and remaining resources have been transferred to Birmingham Tree People (BTP) CIO.

There are obvious synergies between the BTP and BTfL in that both groups are dedicated to the interests of trees in the urban setting, both advocate for the care, retention and planting of trees, and both involve volunteers. This new partnership will allow the combined group an even stronger voice and influence across a wider range of tree-related activities and developments in the City and wider region.

BTfL has bloomed and blossomed and will continue to do so as BTP take on the project. As well as continuing community tree planting, BTP are leading the way in achieving Birmingham becoming an urban forest and leading the way in greening up the second city.

The Birmingham Civic Society will continue to support Birmingham Tree People in the transition period, and know that the next steps for the BTfL project will undoubtedly provide positive steps towards a greener future for Birmingham and its citizens. We are excited to see the next steps for this wonderful organisation.

On behalf of the Society we would like to thank every member of the BTfL committee for their hard work, often in harsh weather conditions, to engage our communities in their brilliant tree planting activities. Whilst it is with heavy hearts that the project will no longer be part of the Society, moving forward is vital for our city to thrive, and we look forward to working with the new custodians of such an important project.

View the BTfL 2022 Annual Report

If you would like more information on Birmingham Tree People please visit birminghamtreepeople.org.uk.