FORDINGBRIDGE is taking great green strides to cut down food and plastic waste and improve biodiversity by creating “tiny forests”, thanks to the work of a volunteer group.

The varied work of Fordingbridge Greener Living was highlighted during Fordingbridge Town Council’s annual assembly last week.

Wendy Reid, who founded Fordingbridge Greener Living, was the guest speaker for the evening and outlined what the group has been doing over the past two years.

Recycling shed and community fridge

Around 70 people currently volunteer their time to support the group’s activities, which include a recycling shed and community fridge and freezer. The shed takes items that cannot go into the New Forest District Council sacks for example aluminium foil, pet food packages, and water filter packages.

Enhancing biodiversity

Fordingbridge Greener Living also has a tree planting group. It was given 450 whips from the Woodland Trust last November, of which a number have been planted in a bid to create a “tiny forest” on New Forest District Council land - using a Japanese approach to planting.

Wendy said: “Through using this approach our project aims to provide small areas where biodiversity can be dramatically increased whilst these tress establish themselves.”

The group is looking at other locations to plant the remaining saplings and is also in the early stages of finding a site for a community orchard.

It would also like to explore other community gardening projects in the area and has been in discussion with the town council on a possible joint venture.

Reducing plastic waste

Another focus for the group is cutting down single use plastic waste in the town. It is hoping to get more businesses involved with the initiative to become “plastic free businesses champions”.

“Not only is this a great step in achieving the overall plastic free town status but it is a key way to build back better following lockdown and a way to get the community spirit going again,” added Wendy.

The group were also successful in getting just under £5,000 from Hampshire Waste to buy a community composter, maturation bins and food waste caddies, which will be installed at Frys Field Allotments. Other plans in the pipeline include a repair cafe and clothes swaps.

Wendy said: “By working together we can make a difference and go even further with what we would like to do for our town.”

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