Ask a local where Canon Bowrings Playing Grounds are in Farncombe, and you may draw a blank. If you say “Chippy Park” people are more likely to be able to direct you to the lovely hidden gem situated behind the fish and chip shop on Lower Manor Road.

On Saturday 17th February around 30 children, 20 adults, along with the sun, came out to make a difference to their community. With the help of the Farncombe Initiative and the permission of Waverley Borough Council, we planted 30 little oak saplings in a corner of the playing grounds.

The afternoon started with forest school games led by Richard Andrews where the children had a chance to run about as Wizards and Giants – a game which I never quite grasped the rules of but the kids loved – followed by creating little forest people out of pine cones and elder sticks.

Meanwhile the adults watched on while mingling with their neighbours and taking the opportunity to meet Godalming’s Town Mayor, Anne Bott, and other councillors Anne Gray, Steve Bott and Nick Williams.

We invite all ages to our events and love seeing the diversity in age attending to improve their community. We focus on children and young people through forest school and educational elements to our workshops. This is because we envisage that our workshops will inspire the next generation to protect their green spaces and live more harmoniously with nature.

After the crafting session, it was onto the planting demo where participants are shown how to give the little oaks the best start in life. There are two ancient oaks at the entrance to the park which won’t last forever so the little oaks we planted will provide continuity for future generations. One participant could remember when the younger red oaks in the opposite far corner were planted. How wonderful that she was there to plant more oaks to provide shade for people in the decades and centuries to come! Not to mention all the many other benefits of trees.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Godalming, Councillor Anne Bott, her husband Councillor Steve Bott, Councillor Anne Gray and Councillor Nick Williams were joined by CALA Homes representative Tony Greco for a photo opportunity with Roots for the Future. A CALA Homes community bursary matched Postcode Lottery funding to make this event, as well as one we held in Milford, possible. The CALA Community bursary was launched in April 2017 and the house builder invited local charities, organisations and groups to apply for help to fund projects which make a vital difference in and around their communities. Roots for the Future applied in June and was delighted to secure funding for the following tree planting season.

And then onto the whole point and most important part of the day – the tree planting!

Everyone loved planting the little oaks and we are pretty confident that the young planters will keep an eye on the young trees making sure they are watered in dry spells. They were excited about watching the trees grow alongside themselves.

It was such a successful day, we all went home with smiles on our faces, feeling good about improving our community!

I would like to thank everyone for coming out to help us make a difference to the environment and particularly the Mayor of Godalming, Councillor Anne Bott, her husband Councillor Steve Bott, Councillor Anne Gray and Councillor Nick Williams for representing Godalming Town Council, Tony Greco for representing one of our funders CALA Homes, the Postcode Lottery for providing funding, the Farncombe Initiative for their support, and Waverley Borough Council for giving us permission to plant on the grounds.