Every Thursday in May, Ecosia dedicated its revenue from UK searches to plant 2020 trees in and around ten NHS hospitals as part of the #GrowYourLove campaign. The project aims to support the wellbeing of NHS workers whilst providing green spaces for local communities.

The eco-friendly search engine teamed up with Trees for Cities and The NHS Forest for its first project in the UK. Planted by volunteers and children from local schools, the trees will symbolise the public’s gratitude, thanking NHS workers for their hard work every day.

Speaking about the project on the NHS Forest website, Rachel Stancliffe, Founder and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, said: “There is a huge amount of evidence for the physical and mental health benefits of trees and green spaces. With The NHS Forest we have been helping organisations improve their natural environment and reconnect their staff and patients with nature, for over 10 years. We are so happy to partner with Ecosia for this wonderful project, to grow The NHS Forest and in a positive, lasting way to say THANK YOU for the care and dedication NHS workers have given us, particularly in this crisis.”

The project also provides cleaner air for local communities. The World Health Organisation found that a quarter of UK hospitals are in areas that breach limits of particulate matter, exposing patients and NHS workers to high levels of pollution.

Ecosia is known for planting native species and protecting local wildlife, and this project is no different. Using areas where trees grew naturally, the selected spaces will allow the trees to thrive. Close to Hillingdon Hospital, a vacant space will be transformed with over 500 trees, reconnecting the area to its horticultural past. A small orchard will allow the local community to learn to grow and harvest food. Trees will also be planted in Wales, Bristol, Cornwall, Liverpool, Newcastle and Nottingham.

The UK’s planting season is October to March, and due to the current lockdown, all volunteer activities have been suspended. However, you can still support the project by searching with Ecosia at https://www.ecosia.org/. To donate to Trees for Cities, visit https://www.treesforcities.org/get-involved/donate and to sign up to their volunteer mailing list, visit https://www.treesforcities.org/get-involved/volunteer. To donate to The NHS Forest, visit https://nhsforest.org/sponsor-tree.