Why coats are being hung from a tree outside £42m development

Eamonn Laverty of McAleer and Rushe added a Kindness Tree to the St Crispsins Road building site to benefit those in need

Eamonn Laverty of McAleer and Rushe added a Kindness Tree to the St Crispsins Road building site in Norwich to benefit those in need - Credit: Maya Derrick/McAleer and Rushe

The construction giant behind a multi-million pound city housing project is aiming to give back to Norwich in a unique way.

McAleer and Rushe is the firm behind the £42m student digs in St Crispins Road and broke ground on the site at the start of the year.

Part of their work on site is creating a Kindness Tree. 

Contracts manager, Eamonn Laverty, saw a similar project in his native Northern Ireland which inspired him to implement the goodwill initiative for the people of Norwich - especially during the cold winter months.

Eamonn Laverty of McAleer and Rushe

Eamonn Laverty of McAleer and Rushe - Credit: McAleer and Rushe

He said: "The concept of the Kindness Tree is for winter clothing to be left by anyone no longer using it and for those in need to be able to freely take an item.

"The hope is for this chain of passing on clothing will be continued by others replacing and keeping the tree ‘alive’."

Coats have been dropped off and picked up from the Kindness Tree, at the side of McAleer and Rushe's St Crispins Road site

Coats have been dropped off and picked up from the Kindness Tree, at the side of McAleer and Rushe's St Crispins Road site - Credit: Maya Derrick

Eamonn added that he wasn’t sure if it would gain traction but has been "genuinely taken aback" with the heartfelt response from city folk.

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Since the tree's inception a multitude of items, mainly coats, have been left by passers-by.

The plant is at the junction of St Georges Street and St Crispins Road.

Eamonn and the team at the St Crispins Road site encouraged more donations to be left and for those in need of warm clothing to come forward and help themselves.

The McAleer and Rushe site, once an abandoned office building, is set to open as a complex of student flats by the summer of 2023.

Passers by are encouraged to donate unwanted coats by hanging them on McAleer and Rushe's Kindness Tree

Passers by are encouraged to donate unwanted coats by hanging them on McAleer and Rushe's Kindness Tree - Credit: Maya Derrick

The block previously towered over the skyline as a 1970s building The Stationary Office and will now be used to house a 684-bed complex with Global Student Accommodation, tackling Norwich's growing demand for student accommodation in the city.

McAleer and Rushe will be constructing additional floors to create a seven-storey building as well as a five-storey extension to the rear of the building.

It's the firm's first site in the city.

A representative of McAleer and Rushe added that they welcome the opportunity to meet members of the community in a bid to establish relationships through the regeneration project.