Date published: February 23, 2016

Student volunteers plant trees with former Happy Monday Bez

Students and staff planted trees and goodwill when they joined celebrity campaigner Bez for a spot of digging in the sun!

The ex-Happy Mondays artist devotes much of his energy to urban farming and arrived outside John Lester and Eddie Colman Halls with thirty saplings to create what he calls “Salford’s first forest garden”.

The apple, cherry, plum and pear trees were planted on scrubland outside the former student pub, the Woolpack on Belvedere Road with the star claiming: “People around here need fruit, they need vegetables and we need to start taking control of what we eat.”

Geography undergraduate Oliver Smithies played his part by declaring the site free of metal contamination after running a series of chemical test on the soil - part of his dissertation project.

Katie Burrell and Rowan Chapman, also BSc Geography, were among more than a dozen other students who joined residents, schoolchildren, workers for homeless charity Coffee for Craig and even the local community bobby for the digging and planting.

Katie said: “This land is right on the university’s doorstep so we wanted to come out and get involved with the people here.”

Local resident Graham Worrell said it was great to see students involved in an important project for the community: “Improvements to housing and the physical estate around here are welcome, but we also need to make the open spaces welcoming and attractive.

“More than that, working with each other on practical improvements like tree planting gives people pride in their surroundings, a sense of ownership and belonging.”

The students were invited to take part by Dr Mike Hardman who contacted Community Engagement and Volunteering officer Cath Foster at Student Life.

Mike, a researcher in urban food and guerrilla gardening, is involved in a number of projects of this type through the Pendleton Together project.

If this story has inspired you to look into volunteering, then look no further than our huge range of activities for Student Volunteering Week. Check out what’s going on here.

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