Young people starting their careers in conservation are on track to complete a challenge of planting more than 60,000 trees in Essex.

Sanctuary has provided over £14,000 of funding towards the Market Field Grows project, for tools, equipment and a vehicle for the team.

Market Field Farm, the charity running the horticultural project, provides paid work opportunities for school leavers with learning disabilities, special educational needs and autism.

The assignment has taken the workers from Great Maplestead to Wrabness, planting up to 500 trees a day, including hedgerows to form wildlife corridors between woodlands for dormice and squirrels.

The hard-working team will now move on to sites in Wix, Kirby le Soken and East Mersea, before completing the challenge in April, when they will have reached their target and planted a total of 60,800 trees.

Sanctuary provided the funding through its MORE! programme, which aims to benefit people in the places it is building new homes.

The project is taking place near Sanctuary’s Penny Fields development in Frating, where 67 one, two, three and four-bedroom homes have been developed with Hill Group.

Naomi Andrews, project manager and trustee of Market Field Farm, said: “We’re delighted to have secured funding to get the project going. It’s opened unexpected doors for the people we work with, and I’m so proud of them.  

“One day, I hope they will go to the woodlands and be able to tell their children that they planted it.”

Sarah Brind, Sanctuary’s head of development – south, added: “It’s fantastic to support this charity, which is equally as passionate about providing paid work opportunities for young people as it is for the environment.

“We hope to work with Market Field Farm on more community landscaping projects in the future, providing additional work opportunities for young people.”

For more details about Sanctuary’s Penny Fields development, please visit Penny Fields.

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