The Woodland Trust seeks major new corporate partner to empower young people through ‘Funding for the Future’

Last updated: 8th December 2023

The Woodland Trust, recognised as the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, is boldly seeking out the perfect business to work in partnership with to support an ambitious new programme of work. ‘Funding for the Future’ aims to provide a platform for young people across the UK to engage in environmental action.

A recent YouGov poll revealed that one in three young people in Britain are scared, sad or pessimistic about climate change, with 28% feeling “overwhelmed”. The Woodland Trust recognises the disconnect between young people’s concern about the impact of global climate change and their ability to take tangible action. Whilst this is a global issue, here in the UK we are one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. In fact, the UK ranks in the bottom 10% of countries for biodiversity. Compared to the rest of Europe, where tree cover sits at 36%, woods and trees cover just 13% of our land. Worse still, according to the recent “State of Woods and Trees” report by the Woodland Trust, just 7% is in good condition. 


However, the Woodland Trust is looking to reframe the conversation and take action, building a foundation for positivity. The Trust has set out seven youth programme goals to show young people that there is hope and that they can make a real impact.  


“We’re in the business of optimism. We’re in the business of hope.”  

Jules Acton, Ambassador, The Woodland Trust. 

The programme is focussed on three key project areas:  

Green Trees Schools Award 

Providing thousands of schools across the UK with the opportunity to take part in fun, practical projects that encourage outdoor learning and grow nature connectedness. Activities include tree planting, reducing CO2 emissions and visiting woodlands. The points-based reward scheme encourages schools to progress through levels of recognition from bronze to platinum.  


“Children thrive on the outdoors and for some, this has been their lifeline within an academic world.” Mr. Parmenter, English Lead and KS2 Teacher, Chirton C of E Primary School, Wiltshire. 


As the Trust approaches its 15-year anniversary of facilitating the award scheme, it looks to expand the offer to include community youth groups. This is a significant milestone that presents opportunities for a corporate partner to enhance the learning experience and wellbeing of children.  


Youth Reimagined 

Bringing young people to the environmental table through access to skills, knowledge and leadership development. An example of this is the Youth Council, whereby young people aged 16-25 contribute to the Woodland Trust’s decision making at a strategic level, act as ambassadors for woods and trees, and advocate for the voice of young people in the conservation sector.  


The Woodland Trust also facilitates a Youth Innovation Competition awarding a prize of £20,000 to support environmental projects proposed by young people. Eighteen shortlisted entrants are invited to a bespoke training workshop, designed to build confidence and presentation skills. Nine finalists will go on to pitch in person for the chance to receive a portion of the prize fund. Selected winners receive up to 12 months of expert mentorship from conservation professionals to support them in bringing their project to life.   


It is through Youth Reimagined that young people are empowered to become leaders of the future for environmental conservation, with the skills and knowledge to be able to make decisions at both a project and strategic level. This will resonate with businesses interested in a partnership that develops the employability of young people within the field of environmental sustainability. 


Young Peoples Forest at Mead 

The Young People’s Forest at Mead is being planted on an extensive former opencast mining site near Heanor in Derbyshire. As part of the #iwill campaign to promote youth social action, we are creating a Young People’s Forest here by planting over 250,000 trees. Children and young people will help shape the future of this amazing place, creating a forest for themselves and their community. 


Young people, in particular those aged 10-20, have been invited to get involved and help the Trust make decisions on how the site develops. Planting trees is only the beginning for this project, with plans to continue rolling out events organised by young people, for young people such as Mead Fest and Colour Run. 


How will this plan be delivered?  

This is where the business sector comes in.  

The Woodland Trust has established a reputation for building meaningful, mutually beneficial partnerships that deliver for business, people and the environment. Long-standing, large-scale partners include Sainsburys, OVO Energy, Aviva and more. Each partnership is bespoke and designed to meet specific goals and tell unique stories. Partners of scale are taken on a genuine journey of engagement and education. 


“Our partners of scale relish the opportunity to visit our sites and speak with our experts – and sometimes even roll up their sleeves and get stuck in – all of this deepens their appreciation and understanding of why the work we do is so vital. They come away inspired and asking, ‘how can we do more?’”

Pip Greensmith, Head of Corporate Partnerships, the Woodland Trust.  


The base cost for ‘Funding for the Future’ has been budgeted at circa £1,000,000 a year and will directly support the development of the Trust’s youth schemes. In turn, this will enable young people across the UK to become actively involved in climate action. The Woodland Trust is keen that the partner selected to support the programme will have an alignment of values with the Trust and a track record of engaging with youth audiences. The partner will also operate within the UK, in a space that resonates with young people. 


The ideal partner will have a desire to become a brand champion for young people, voicing their concerns about the environment. Through this partnership, they will extend resonance to the next generation of colleagues, customers and stakeholders. They will also benefit from the opportunity to tie multiple ESG/CSR objectives in one place. Partnership with the Woodland Trust could go on to help shape their objectives for years to come.  


Interested? Take the first step.   

Interested parties are warmly encouraged to get in touch and have an informal conversation with a relationship manager from our Corporate Partnerships team, to further understand the opportunity and whether this would be the right fit for them. A full information pack will be provided, including the application form. The closing date for expressions of interest is 22 January 2024. Following a period of shortlisting, we will receive presentations in the week commencing 19 February. 


Call on 0330 333 5306 or email [email protected] to learn more about partnering with the Woodland Trust.  

The Woodland Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales no. 294344 and in Scotland no. SC038885. A non-profit making company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no. 1982873. The Woodland Trust logo is a registered trademark. Image credits: lead image; Julie Howden/WTML; secondary image; James Reader/WTM.

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