This year, Monmouthshire Building Society hit a major financial milestone – £1bn pounds in assets. To mark this momentous occasion, they decided to give back to the wider local community through some unique and exciting funding projects.
The Newport-based building society has collaborated with a number of local and national bodies covering a wide spectrum of society including health, homelessness, the environment and the young in order to identify projects of great, lasting need.
The recipient of the donation in the environmental category has now been announced as The Woodland Trust, and the society has donated £6,250 to fund the planting of 5,000 saplings at Wentwood Forest to replace diseased larch trees.
The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. They aim to plant trees, protect woods and inspire people to enjoy the natural world.
Tests have confirmed that larch trees at Wentwood Forest, north east of Newport, which is the largest ancient woodland in Wales, are infected with a fungus-like disease, phytophthora ramorum, and nearly 500 acres of the woodland, which is home to rare wildlife including dormice, adders and nightjars, are to be cut down and destroyed in an attempt to control the outbreak.
Felling has already taken place at Wentwood, and the planting of native broadleaf trees began in the autumn to make up for this enormous loss.
Colin Strong, head of lending and procurement, said: “The society has started celebrating the achievement of a billion pounds of assets through a series of community-focused projects. We’re particularly excited by this fantastic opportunity to give back to the local environment, its native wildlife and the many people who enjoy visiting this area of outstanding beauty which is just on our doorstep.”
Helen Shepherd, Woodland Trust regional development officer, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Monmouthshire Building Society on this large-scale tree planting project.
“The generous donation of over six thousand pounds has gone directly towards purchasing native trees to ensure that the right mix of native deciduous trees is planted which will greatly enrich the local surroundings.
“Wentwood is a real asset for the people of South Wales, and I’d encourage anyone who can to take some time to appreciate this often overlooked paradise which can only get better in time thanks to the society’s support.”