In the lead up to National Tree Day on Sunday, Greater Bank and members of the Wallsend community have come together in a COVID-safe manner to wrap up the year-long Growing Greater Together campaign.
Launched in August 2020 to mark Greater Bank’s 75-year anniversary, the legacy program set out to plant 75,000 trees across regional NSW in areas the customer-owned bank calls home.
The current COVID-19 restrictions saw the cancellation of a community event that was to be held at Wallsend’s Ironbark Creek on Sunday to plant the last 3,000 trees. City of Newcastle employees will now undertake this on the community’s behalf.
With the project already passing the 75,000-tree milestone, Greater Bank’s Chief Operating Officer, Emma Brokate, joined Wallsend residents on Friday to plant a commemorative tree on the site to mark the end of the program.
Over nearly 12-months, Greater Bank has conducted 42 planting projects across the Hunter, Central Coast, Illawarra, Central West, New England and Tweed River regions, with a total of 79,730 trees being planted across these sites; more than 36,000 have been dedicated to projects across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter.
Emma Brokate said that in celebrating the 75-Year anniversary, Greater Bank wanted to do something special and a little different that was important to customers and the community.
“Greater Bank has a long history of supporting the communities that support us, which is why we wanted to share this important milestone with customers across our areas of operations,” Emma said.
“Planting 75,000 trees throughout regional NSW was a very ambitious project and a huge undertaking for all involved. It’s wonderful to be here today to plant a tree to commemorate the end of the project.
“Beyond the environmental benefits this program delivered, this project has been a fantastic opportunity to connect with the communities where we’ve undertaken these plantings.
“Our project team has worked with local councils, as well as Landcare and other community groups, to bring the projects to life. Every one of these groups have been so appreciative of the opportunity to be part of our celebrations.
Greater Bank Regional Manager, Josh Swetnam, said the tree planting projects are symbolic of the role Greater Bank has played in growing together with its communities over the past 75 years.
“It’s also provided our employees, as well as their families in some cases, with the chance to get out, get their hands dirty and work alongside community volunteers in a COVID-safe manner.
“The trees will not only provide these communities with an ongoing legacy to mark our milestone, but as they grow, they will provide a symbol of our commitment to social responsibility and sustained support of local communities.
Josh Swetnam, Greater Bank Regional Manager
“Particular thanks must go to the City of Newcastle who have worked with us to plant 20,000 trees across five sites, including this project at Ironbark Creek.”
The Growing Greater Together campaign will have a significant impact on local environments. Beyond the flora regeneration of the respective sites across regional NSW, collectively, the 75,000-plus trees will have the capacity to absorb 1,650,000kgs of carbon dioxide each year. That offsets 97 people per year and emissions from 600 cars.