NewsTree Wardensphoenix glade

The Tree Council’s Branching Out Fund is helping to create wonderful tree and hedgerow projects around the country as it does each year – and during this challenging time, one grantee in Liverpool has made powerful use of their grant funding to creative a special ‘Phoenix Glade’ to mark the loss and bereavement experienced by local people during the pandemic.

The glade will be planted in Newsham Park in the shape of a broken heart, with a fire sculpture at its centre. After this has been lit as part of a memorial ceremony, it will be replaced by a permanent sculpture of a phoenix.

The process of planting the glade will offer a meaningful opportunity for local people to commemorate the loss and the challenges experienced in 2020. Having another way to honour the dead is particularly valuable given the restrictions that have affected many memorial services this year.

A powerful natural tribute

The initiative is the work of local community organisation Tree House Liverpool and one local woman in particular, Sarah Robinson, who sadly lost her mother in April.

Christina Ashworth from Tree House Liverpool said, “reconciling ourselves to the death of a loved one is a process made less painful by the time we might spend with those close to death as well as afterwards through the ceremonies and traditions we share with others. One of the cruel impacts of the pandemic is that it has deprived us of these opportunities and this can make the loss more painful.”

Artist Joe Robinson explained the design, saying “recurrent images of public health and the economy have largely overshadowed the recognition of loss we are all in some way experiencing. Our project goes a small way to rebalancing that with the heart shape of trees reflecting our love and the ritual of a fire sculpture providing a point of letting go. The permanent phoenix will offer the same symbol for future visitors to see.”

Local people who have lost loved ones from or during the pandemic are being invited to contact the organisation to take part.

Find out more and support the project

The project has raised ₤3500 funding toward the project, from West Derby Waste Lands Trust and The Tree Council but the organisers are looking for further support to realise their full vision for the space. The project has also sparked interest from others who are interested in replicating the initiative elsewhere. The public can contact the project via the website.

Learn more about The Tree Council’s Branching Out grant fund here.