47 Trees grows to 470 Trees and now to 4,700 Trees

A community project culminated on Saturday 18th November 2023 in Platt Fields Park, with the planting of the 470th tree in the Rusholme neighbourhood – and a new project ten times larger was launched!  Sixty people planted over 90 trees on the day, drawn from the Rusholme community joined by students and staff from MMU’s Business School.

The 270th tree was planted by Professor Sarah Underwood for MMU, thus completing the 470 Trees Project lunched by Afzal Kahn MP back in June 2021.  And on Saturday Afzal planted the first of 4,700 trees which it is hoped to plant over the next 3 to 5 years, launching a new effort which will cover the new Rusholme constituency, taking in Fallowfield, Whalley Range, Hulme, Ardwick wards as well as Moss Side and Rusholme.

Announcing the new project, Afzal Kahn welcomed the completion of the 470 Trees project he announced in 2021, planted the first of a planned 4,700 trees across the new Rusholme Parliamentary Constituency and thanked all those who had successfully delivered the 470 trees project, welcoming this local boost to nature and urban resilience. He formally initiated the Rusholme Constituency 4,700 Project by planting an oak tree outside Platt Hall.  “I am so proud of the Rusholme residents of my constituency and am constantly impressed by their creativity and resilience.” said Afzal.  “Projects like this one are critical to our future wellbeing in Rusholme and across the world.  I am delighted to launch the 4,700 Project and look forward to supporting it to grow from this oak tree.  I extend my congratulations to the community of Rusholme, which gives me real hope for the future.”

Professor Sarah Underwood also congratulated all concerned and welcomed the involvement of staff and students from the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. She emphasised the centrality of advancing sustainable development through both research and teaching at the University and how pleased she was to be able to support this practical example of sustainability in action.

The event was hosted by Platt Hall In Between and coincided with an Open Day at the Hall.  Inbal Livne, Senior Curative Lead at Manchester City Art Gallery, welcomed participants. She spoke about the  Platt Hall In Between programme with its support for communities and greening in the area as the project re-imagines the museum in the park.

Helena Kettleborough, local resident and co-founder of Creative Rusholme which initiated the projects following the death of long-standing Rusholme MP Sir Gerald Kaufman in 2017, spoke about the importance of communities coming together to imagine the future and make it happen.  “Scientific research consistently points to the importance of trees in urban sustainability and Creative Rusholme has been proud to work with local partners the Friends of Platt Fields and of Birchfields and Manchester City Council and others to build the tree cover in Rusholme and we are proud to have the opportunity to now take the project to a new level and to widen it out across much of south Manchester”.               

Many organisations and neighbours have supported the event and planted trees since 2017, including:  Friends of Birchfields Park, Friends of Platt Fields Park, Trinity House, Manchester City Council, Manchester Metropolitan University, Anson Youth Group, West Point Residents Association, Schuster Road and Park Range Residents Association, Victoria Park Residents Association, New Apostolic Church, St Josephs & St Edwards Church, Claremont Road and Heald Place Schools, Birch Community Centre, Xvarian College, Park Crescent In Our Nature, neighbours on Norman Road, Kelstern Square & Hall Road and Rusholme ward councilors.

47 Trees for Sir Gerald Kaufmann and launch of Rusholme 470

Arising from a series of ‘Rusholme Rising’ community creative learning sessions held in the spring of 2017, the proposal is the first phase of a ten year effort to plant one tree for every resident in Rusholme. You can see the original prospectus together with the full list of trees planted, a map of their locations through the links on the right.

As of May 2021, five years after the prospectus was launched, with well over 100 trees planted in the wider Rusholme area, the 47 Trees project has achieved its objective and we are now on our way towards planting 470 trees! But at the same time, many of our existing trees have been lost or are threatened through ignorance and lack of care for our community and its environment – and most trees in the area have woefully inadequate protection.

Planting trees was both an excellent way to honour our former MP and to take action for the climate emergency. On 21st June a dedication event was held at Birch Community Center attended by members of the Rusholme community, Sir Gerald’s successor, Afzal Khan MP and members of Sir Gerald’s family. Three guided walks were held which visited all 47 trees between them, the 47th and final one – a hawthorn – being planted in the grounds of Birch Community Centre by Brian Selby, Sir Gerald Kaufman’s nephew.

At the event Afzal Khan formally launched Rusholme 470 which aims to plant a further 470 trees in the area, as well as protecting our existing tree stock, over the next three years.

Media Release for the event

Map showing location of the 47 Trees planted for Sir Gerald Kaufman

Many organisations and neighbours have supported the event and planted trees over the past three years, including:  Friends of Birchfields Park, Friends of Platt Fields Park, Trinity House, Manchester City Council, Anson Youth Group, West Point Residents Association, Schuster Road and Park Range Residents Association, Victoria Park Residents Association, New Apostolic Church, Birch Community Centre, neighbours on Norman Road, Kelstern Square & Hall Road and Rusholme ward councillors.

Birchfields Park