As part of National Volunteers' Week, staff from People's Postcode Lottery took a break from the office to give a helping hand to Woodland Trust Scotland. The Trust is part of the UK's leading woodland conservation charity and encourages people to plant trees in their local area to enhance its beauty and sustainability. Experts from the Trust shared their knowledge with our volunteers at Northwood, a forest in Livingston.

The first task of the day was to remove plastic tubing from young trees in the wood. This tubing is initially used to protect the trees from rabbits and other wild animals, as well as offering additional support to the saplings. Once the trees outgrow this tubing it is necessary to take it away so they receive adequate moisture and light.

Wearing protective clothing and gloves, six volunteers were ready to get their hands dirty. "I had such a great time helping out today", said Stefan Pearson, eGaming Marketeer at People's Postcode Lottery. "We got to leave the office for a few hours and experience the great Scottish outdoors. The weather stayed dry too so it was smiles all round.”

Following this, the team got to work in a deeper section of woodland where a large rhododendron bush threatened the biodiversity of the area. Andrew Fairbairn of Woodland Trust Scotland explained that rhododendrons suppress other wood types, reducing the presence of earthworms and birds. The team used saws and handled loopers to cut away at the pesky bush.

Throughout the day, our volunteers learned about the importance of protecting Britain's trees. From providing a place for recreation to absorbing harmful CO2, woodland has a range of benefits that often go unnoticed. Trees and woods also provide a habitat for numerous animal and plant species. Woodland Trust Scotland aims to draw attention to these positive attributes and get people to start planting trees from a young age. As part of a scheme set up by the Trust, many of the young trees in Northwood were planted by local school children.

Michael McCormack, Events Assistant at People's Postcode Lottery, thoroughly enjoyed the educational aspect of the day: "Volunteering with the Woodland Trust Scotland has been such an enjoyable activity. The whole day has reminded me of the good causes our players support just by buying a ticket every month. I really hope I get a chance to help out with the Trust again in the future.”

To date, players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised more than £390,000 for Woodland Trust Scotland. This money has helped 200 groups across Scotland transform their communities by planting native trees and in turn protecting iconic Scottish wildlife.

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