The Woodland Trust unveils an oak filled grove at Martinshaw Wood in Leicestershire in dedication to partner Sofidel as a thank you for 10 years of support for UK wood and trees

The Woodland Trust unveils an oak filled grove at Martinshaw Wood in Leicestershire in dedication to partner Sofidel as a thank you for 10 years of support for UK wood and trees

Martinshaw Wood, Leicestershire, 28 June 2023A decade of dedication to UK trees and woodland, a quarter of a million trees planted, and a million pounds of funding is cause for celebration as the Woodland Trust thanks Sofidel, a world leader in the manufacturing of paper for hygienic and domestic use, and its Nicky brand for its commitment to investing in nature-based solutions to climate change and the nature crisis.

The acre grove of oak, hazel, rowan and Scots pine at Martinshaw Wood in Leicestershire, close to two of Sofidel’s UK production sites in Rothley and Hamilton, is standing testament to the achievements of a decade of partnership and its commitment to the environment.

In ten years the relationship has grown from Sofidel’s support for the Woodland Trust’s free tree packs for schools and community groups in 2013 through consumer sales of its Nicky brand toilet tissue and kitchen towel, to its 2023 commitment to champion protection of UK woodland at a time of crisis for UK woods and trees.

In its report issued this week Trees and Woods at the Heart of Nature Recovery, the Woodland Trust outlined how restoration work must be prioritised by UK government to rescue nature in the UK’s woods – only 7% of Britain’s woodland is in good ecological condition and woodland birds and butterflies are in steep decline. Britain’s ancient woods are more polluted and damaged, containing less wildlife than at any other point in history.

Well-known for its Nicky brand in the UK, Sofidel is stepping up to support the Trust in its protection of these irreplaceable habitats and helping shine a spotlight on the need to create fair and free access to green spaces, trees and woodland for communities across the UK.

Karl Mitchell, Woodland Trust Director of Fundraising: “Access to woods and trees shouldn’t be the privilege of a few. Everyone should feel the benefit of taking time in green space. It’s proven that trees make us happier and healthier. But there are places where we need more trees, particularly in our urban spaces where they can provide shelter, shade and much needed pollution and flood alleviation.  Sofidel has worked with us for a decade and their generous funding has meant we’ve accomplished a great deal in partnership.  From supporting farmers and landowners through our MOREwoods scheme to enabling schools and community groups to create and care for green spaces via our tree packs initiative.  We’re grateful to have the opportunity to work with an organisation that grows with us and supports all aspects of the work we do at the Trust.  Sofidel’s continued commitment means we can focus on protecting our most vulnerable woodland and improving tree equity, pushing for better access to trees for more people, as well as keeping all our woods open and free to access for all.”

Luca Lolli, Sofidel Line of Business Director – Private Label: “I am delighted to celebrate 10 years of partnership with the Woodland Trust. Together we have achieved exceptional results in the UK. From beginning our collaboration under the Nicky brand planting thousands of trees, and now to safeguarding the woodland we have planted, we continue contributing to the protection of our planet. I feel extremely enthusiastic we will achieve a lot more in the future.”

Sofidel is proud of its investment in its local communities. Over half of its UK staff – more than 450 employees of 30 nationalities across all ages – is employed in its Leicester business and Sofidel are working with a local 6th Form College to provide students with work placements to support vocational T Levels training.

As more businesses are only just beginning to appreciate the dependency of their business model on a healthy ecosystem and the risks presented by nature’s decline, Sofidel have been pioneering in their connection with the Woodland Trust, supporting solutions for nature’s recovery for ten years. As well as demonstrating the importance of protecting their natural assets, they have recognised the need to do this beyond their value chain – giving back to nature because it’s the right thing to do.

Sofidel’s funding also supports restoration and protection at local woods such as Martinshaw Wood, nestled between the communities of Ratby and Groby in the National Forest. Less than 10 miles from Sofidel’s UK Leicestershire base, and steeped in history dating back to the Domesday Book, Martinshaw is set across 103 hectares and is a home for wildlife including 270 species of moth, some of which are rare.

The Woodland Trust has been restoring this picturesque site with its areas of ancient woodland to its former glory for the past 40 years. Removing plantation conifers and thinning the tree canopy has allowed the woodland flora and fauna to regenerate and flourish. The elusive woodcock, mistle thrush and gold crest are found in the wood, and wood anemone and rare eared sallow have returned to this site.

David Logan, Site Manager at Martinshaw Wood: “The decades of restoration work here at Martinshaw have not only created a thriving haven for wildlife, it means we can offer a welcoming green space for our local communities who come here to benefit from nature’s remedy – to walk through the woodland or cycle and horse ride along the bridleway.  There’s even a local orienteering club based here.”

Trees keep communities strong and the planet healthy. Support from Sofidel means the Woodland Trust can continue its vital work to protect, restore and create precious native woodland across the UK for the benefit of generations to come.

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