KCOM volunteers have branched out from their day jobs to take part in a community project to plant more climate change combatting trees across the region.

A dozen KCOM employees joined forces with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) charity and East Riding Council’s HeyWoods Initiative this week to plant 1,732 saplings in Bransholme, Hull.

The event was part of the larger Northern Forest initiative which aims to plant 50 million environment-enhancing trees, from coast to coast across the north of England, in the next 25 years.

Kayley Rankin, of the TCV charity, said it was great to see a local company come on board to help create a new urban woodland in Hull.

She said: “I’m delighted to see so many people from KCOM here today. This is the fourth year we’ve done this in Hull and this site is contributing to the target we have for planting trees in the area as part of the Northern Forest. By planting a native woodland here we’re helping to combat rising climate temperatures because, as we know, trees are one of our most important weapons in that battle.

“It’s incredibly important to get schools, community groups and businesses like KCOM involved in projects like this because it’s making a real difference for the planet and for the next generation.

“It also a great way for people to take part in an activity with others they wouldn’t normally see – especially after the two years we’ve just had. It’s very rewarding to meet strangers at the beginning of the day and go home friends by the end of it.”

The saplings planted by the KCOM team were from various native broadleaf species including common oak, alder, silver birch, rowan, holly, hazel and colourful dogwood. The aim is to create a natural woodland environment which, over time, will absorb damaging carbon dioxide emissions and slow global warming.

The 50 million trees in the Northern Forest will establish 24,000 hectares of woodland with the potential to absorb up to 7.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050.

Angie Meadley, who works in the KCOM finance team, said she loved being part of the day.

“I think volunteering is a great thing to do and it’s great that the company gives us time to take part in events like this as part of work,” she said.

“I’m from this area and used to play here when I was a kid, so it’s great to see it become a woodland that will benefit everyone. I’ve really enjoyed speaking to people I haven’t seen for ages and just getting out and taking part is really good for your mental and physical health. I’ve definitely enjoyed burning the calories off - I certainly won’t have to do any exercise later.”

As part of its range of community initiatives KCOM gives all employees two paid days a year where they can volunteer for one of the company’s community activities - or choose to volunteer at a  charity close to their own heart.

Fellow volunteer Mark Fletcher-Shaw, a KCOM technical support consultant, said: “I think the atmosphere of everyone working together has been great. I’ve met someone in person today who I’ve been talking to on the phone for years so that’s been really nice. I’ve really enjoyed the physical, hand-on nature of the work too – which couldn’t be further from my day job.”

* To find out more about the Northern Forest initiative visit https://thenorthernforest.org.uk/

* To find out more about the benefits of working at KCOM, including days off to volunteers for a charity of your choice click here