BOTANIC Councillor Gary McKeown has urged residents to 'give a tree a home’ at a free tree giveaway taking place in Ormeau Park this Saturday as part of the Belfast One Million Trees programme.

Welcoming the initiative, Councillor McKeown said: “At the heart of One Million Trees is community involvement, so the team will be offering 500 free saplings to good homes at the bandstand in Ormeau Park from 10am-3pm this Saturday, 22 January, meaning residents can plant them and help contribute towards the project’s aims of reducing carbon, improving air quality and reducing flooding.

“This is a great opportunity for people to play a hands-on role in enhancing our city and watch their tree grow over the years. It’ll also contribute to the wider effort across the island to increase tree numbers, as we have one of the lowest levels of forest cover in Europe. This is essential in helping to tackle climate change, and also to enhance environmental sustainability and diversity.

“There will also be tree-inspired stories at the event and members of the public will have the chance to listen to some poetry and folklore, and have the opportunity to learn about the history of woodlands across Ormeau and Belvoir.”

The SDLP councillor described the One Million Trees as a fantastic opportunity to re-green our city and make it a healthier and more pleasant place to live and work, but said its success depends on Belfast residents getting involved by both suggesting locations for planting, and indeed planting tree themselves.

“The idea, which originated with Belfast Metropolitan Residents Group, was brought to council by my SDLP party colleague Councillor Brian Heading and aims to see one million native trees planted over a 15-year period," he continued.