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Staff physical activity plants 650 trees with Rise

15 February 2024

Newcastle University in collaboration with Rise provided a fantastic physical activity incentive throughout January. For every attendance at the University Sport & Fitness Centre colleagues were rewarded with a tree being planted in the local community for completing an exercise class, gym session or sport booking. With an ambitious target of 650 trees to be planted we were blown away with the engagement levels, with a staggering 1722 attendances coming from 253 individual colleagues.

Harriet Bendelow, Colleague Health & Wellbeing Lead for Newcastle University,

“It can be hard to find the motivation to stay active and having the extra incentive of planting trees has really helped to encourage colleagues across Newcastle University to take part in gym classes, gym sessions and wellbeing walks.  The level of engagement with this project has been amazing and we are thrilled that colleagues from Newcastle University have smashed the target- thank you to everyone who took part! 

We have enjoyed working with Rise on this project and look forward to working with them in the future to encourage colleagues to look after their health and wellbeing as well as helping the environment.”

The incentive contributes to a fantastic cause funded by Bupa and managed by Rise which goes someway to tackle the UK’s deficit of woodland coverage, currently lacking behind the EU average by 24%. Additional trees being planted contributes to a reduction in air pollution and flooding, improving biodiversity, water quality and much more.

Up to 40 colleagues now have the opportunity to use one of their volunteer days and contribute to planting trees. This session, taking place on Thursday 15th February 11am-1pm is facilitated by Newcastle Community Forest. They are providing tools, as well as organising the trees and tree protection required. The trees planted are new sapling or whip size trees approximately 30cm to 80cm tall at time of planting, which will grow to a mature tree and hopefully last for a lifetime.


Miles Lowson, Sport Development Officer for Rise said,

“It’s been absolutely fantastic working with Newcastle University on this project. Their enthusiasm for the project and their willingness to push and promote it has resulted in an overwhelming turnout and achievement from Newcastle University staff. I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the staff who participated, you’ve played an important role in helping the environment and improving tree coverage around Newcastle.

This project is evidence that physical activity and sport can bring people together to help the environment whilst looking after their health – a win-win! We’re looking forward to working with Newcastle University on more projects like this in the future”.