• Sylvia

Abbeydale Street Trees: 2020 Prize Winner

Abbeydale Street Trees were the winners of the inaugural Transformation Prize. Sylvia, one of the team, explains the project and how the Transformation Prize helped them.

Abbeydale Street Trees will create a ‘green corridor’ along one of Sheffield’s busiest commuter and retail streets. This area sees high volumes of traffic and is heavily polluted. The green corridor will be created by the provision of trees, hedges and green spaces. By doing this, we hope to lower air pollution levels, increase biodiversity, improve walkability and make the street more aesthetically pleasing.

Abbeydale Road, Sheffield

The provision of trees and other greenery should make the street more enjoyable to use. This should benefit the many businesses located along it as hopefully it will attract more people to the area. By creating seating areas or parklets we hope that people will stop and enjoy the space and not just use it to transition through. As the trees grow, foliage will provide shade in the summer and shelter during the rainier seasons, encouraging people to walk and to sit outside instead of getting in their cars. We hope that by working within the community and gaining their support they will help us maintain the trees and that this will spur on future projects to further improve Abbeydale road.

Several news articles have been published in local newspapers to help spread the word. A Go Fund Me campaign was set up ten weeks ago and has managed to raise more than £4000 pounds - mostly through small local donations. With the help of another campaign run by two local schoolgirls, we will have enough funds to plant ten trees in the new year. The team also took part in Nether Edge Farmer’s market and a Fun Run was organised to allow locals to partake in supporting the cause. The Facebook page and Go Fund Me Campaign continue to see widespread support and we continue to post updates on these pages, as well as sending out newsletters to keep our followers updated.

Abbeydale Street Trees: farmer's market stall

The feedback and support for this initiative within the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Within the first couple of hours of launching the Go Fund Me page, we were able to raise a thousand pounds. The emails we have received from the community wanting to know more and the well-wishes we have received have been truly heart-warming. The fact that we have met a third of our target already is incredible and with the first tree planting in the new year, we hope to use the momentum to encourage people to fund the additional twenty trees. We plan on hosting another Fun Run, a rockabilly live music event, and, perhaps most excitingly, an auction of services by local businesses, from which the proceeds will go to planting new trees. We have also had a local community group offer us £500 to sponsor a tree!

The funding from the Transformation Prize has gone towards 100 bespoke t-shirts (see photo below!) which we have given out to the fun-run participants, delivered to GoFund me donors and sold at a Farmer’s Market. A local café has also offered to help us sell the remaining stock, and we have requests for a special Christmas edition. They have proved to be a great talking point amongst the local community, raised our profile as you see people wearing them out and about and have spurred on further donations towards the trees.

The Transformation Prize is fantastic in that it stimulated the development of an idea into something concrete. It helped formalise our aims and structure and what we wanted to achieve, and how we were to go about achieving it. Furthermore, it helped us to marry two aspects of community life: people and place, helping to turn a movement, whose main priority was ‘the environment’, into something that is much more socially orientated.

Abbeydale Street Trees fun run

For a highlights video of the 2020 awards, featuring Luke Rose from Abbeydale Street Trees, the other finalists and our guest speakers Judy Ling Wong CBE, Rob Hopkins and Tom Crompton, please follow this link.

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