Who are they?
TreeStation have been working to make the very best use of Manchester’s timber resources since 2012. Their wood yard is in West Gorton but they work across Greater Manchester and beyond.
Their mission is to find a positive use for every tree, branch and chunk of woodchip that is produced in the city. They do this to bolster the fight against climate change and help the city to reduce its carbon emissions. If we make better use of locally grown wood, it means fewer imports, and we can be sure the timber was harvested ethically.
Their mission to reduce carbon emissions benefits everybody, but they work extremely hard - through their Community Officer Patricia Spray - to bring tangible benefits to local people.
What do they do and why?
As a Community Benefit Society they can donate any excess profits to local good causes. However, in a competitive industry like treework, such surpluses are rare. They quickly realised that they could and should do other things to benefit the community.
Patricia came on board and made strong links with local people and groups doing good work to help those in need. TreeStation support them with donations of logs, timber and woodchip, and discounted products and services.
TreeStation created the Forest School Pack to support schools establishing new Forest School areas, or improve existing outside spaces. This included logs for sitting or jumping on, and a vanload of woodchip to improve paths and activity areas. Their most popular donation is woodchip, used for landscaping and as mulch on tree and food growing projects by community groups.
"Patricia has done a great job building our community benefit programme and it's been particularly heartening to see the enthusiasm for our Forest School packs. We’re fully aware of how important outdoor education is for young people, and I'm proud we could help so many schools make better use of their outdoor spaces" - Phil Benn, Managing Director, TreeStation
What funding did they receive and how did it help them?
Targeted support from Access to Growth has allowed TreeStation to develop key areas of the business and their community work. The investment loan allowed them to purchase an electric firewood processor, along with dust extraction and electric power for their kindling machine. The new set-up is cleaner, greener and more efficient - and does away with their old dirty diesel engine. They were also able to extend the employment of Patricia, their Community Officer, which enabled them to achieve so much more in the local area.
In 2022, TreeStation received further support to help meet core costs that have risen significantly post-Covid, like rent, energy bills and wages. In the future, they aim to be also to generate their own electricity on site by installing photovoltaic solar panels.
"The new firewood processor has transformed the yard and made our production far more efficient - but most importantly we can now make firewood using green electricity, which benefits our customers across Greater Manchester." - John Dennis, TreeStation Board of Directors
What impact has the funding had?
Approx. 35,610 adults and children within Greater Manchester have benefitted from free or discounted timber resources during the loan period - an average 8,900 a year, even as the number of projects unavoidably dipped during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The logs are amazing for our Woodland play area, during playgroup sessions the children love climbing on them which is amazing for their gross motor skills” - Jenny Appleby, Outreach Development Worker, Emmeline's Pantry & SureStart Centre, Chorlton
Their support for likeminded ventures continues with 307 tonnes of discounted woodchip delivered to City of Trees alone for tree planting and woodland regeneration projects during the loan period.
Between April 2019 and April 2020, an estimated 22,270 adults and children benefited from donations to schools, community food growing schemes. This includes projects working to combat social isolation and establish training schemes for children not in employment, education or training, as well as their ongoing support for tree planting and school horticulture projects.
Treestation’s community team, and management are amazing. We now have regular deliveries of woodchip and firewood from the yard for landscaping, school and community food growing projects.” - Haydn Bettles, Food Education Co-ordinator, Armitage CE Primary School
TreeStation is a Community Benefit Society and it is important to them that local people are able to join them and have an influence over their future. Anyone over the age of 18 can become a member by purchasing a single share of £1 or more. They are striving to achieve representation from across the community. Visit their website to find out how you can support TreeStation.