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Annual Impact Report 2021/2022

CEO Overview

There is a bewitching sense of simplicity and purity in planting a tree. The elemental act of bedding in an adolescent seedling knowing that it will grow and mature for decades to come and create a lasting impact on the landscape around it is a deeply connecting one. Your tree will not only beautify its environment, but will leave a positive footprint on wildlife, the quality of the air, nature’s resistance to climatic changes, to name but some of its many benefits. This is why thousands of volunteers every year give their time to help us green our towns and cities. There is no equivalent.

David Elliott, CEO

David Elliott, CEO

Yet, for an organisation like ours, behind this culminating action of planting a tree there exists a great amount of complexity. The mantra of 'right tree, right place, right reason' rings loudly across the tree and woodland sector, and within this statement sit layers of questions and considerations which are particularly amplified by the urban context. Which species are best suited? What benefits are we most aiming to enhance? How do we design trees into the labyrinth of competing urban infrastructure? How do we ensure our limited resources are reaching the communities most in need? Just some of the many questions our teams face on a daily basis.

Two smiling people planting a tree with a shovel

An urban tree planting charity delivers its mission within and alongside a highly complex system of actors: individuals, residents, communities, local authorities and businesses to name but some. To be as effective and impact-led as we can and should be, we need to understand our role and position within this web of stakeholders.

This year, Trees for Cities released its new organisational strategy: the Turn of Trees. This strategy aims to make sense of this complex system and to articulate how we believe we can best intervene to achieve the most impactful and lasting positive change. The strategy defines how we intend to expand our scope in order to target the places and spaces most disadvantaged. It considers with whom we should work alongside to achieve our ambitions. It defines the tools and approaches we need to further develop and become ever more effective.

As ever, our achievements are only possible thanks to the dedicated support of our staff, Trustees, volunteers, partners, funders, and everyone else who helps us on our mission to make our towns and cities better and healthier places for people and nature. Thank You!

Person watering a newly planted tree on a street with houses

Our Impact

Benefitting people and the environment lies at the heart of what we do at Trees for Cities. Our organisational goal is to create healthy, accessible and resilient urban forests created for today and for future generations. Our strategic goal is to enable and inspire a new generation to plant and protect urban trees. All the work we do contributes in some way towards these goals.

As our organisation grows, we have continued to improve the way we measure our impact. We are able to report on our impact with even greater accuracy than before. In 2022, we were awarded the Level Two Social Value Certificate in recognition of the fact that we have robust systems and processes in place to evaluate our impact. By really understanding how our work affects people, we are able to make changes to improve it. This means that the evidence, statistics and claims made about our social impact as a charity throughout our Annual Impact Report can be trusted.

Social Value Management Certificate

We enable people who have no experience of planting and protecting trees to try it for the first time; we give people the knowledge, skills and confidence to do so; and we inspire people to take further action for urban trees in the future.

Infographic showing a sample of 896 community and corporate volunteers

A sample of 896 community and corporate volunteers

Infographic showing a sample of 624 community and corporate volunteers

A sample of 624 community and corporate volunteers

Infographic showing on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = not confident at all and 5 = completely confident. A sample of 595 - 925, scored, on average, 3.4 before & 4.4 after attending an urban tree planting event

On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = not confident at all and 5 = completely confident. A sample of 595 - 925, scored, on average, 3.4 before & 4.4 after attending an urban tree planting event.

Infographic showing a sample of 604 community and corporate volunteers

A sample of 604 community and corporate volunteers


Our financial Summary

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Trees planted in the 21/22 planting season. That's the most trees we've ever planted in one season!


Incredible people connected with us


School projects worked on across the UK. This includes 31 brand new school projects we built during this season.


Trees planted overall! We're happy to announce we have now officially planted over one and a half million trees!