A GREEN-FINGERED group of schoolchildren have helped a growing food distribution firm plant more than 500 trees as part of an ongoing commitment to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Harlech Foodservice, which has its headquarters on Parc Bwyd, Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth, enlisted the skills of 10 youngsters, aged between seven and 11 from nearby Ysgol Llanystumdwy to help with the green project to transform a narrow piece of waste ground on the edge of its main site.
The growing firm, which employs around 200 people and has a satellite base in Chester, ordered in more than 500 trees and shrubs, which included a variety of species such as hazel, hawthorn, apple, hazelnut, rowan, dogwood, dog rose, blackthorn and common crab apple.
Gill Blease, Harlech Foodservice Marketing Manager, was one of those leading the project and joined in the morning’s planting activities.
She said: “We are one of the region’s biggest employers and take our green responsibilities very seriously and so we have been working hard for some time now to look at ways of reducing our carbon footprint.
“This has included installing solar panels on the roof of the main offices here and replacing all our rep’s company cars with hybrid models.
“The tree planting is part of our ongoing commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and the impact we are having on the environment around us but it has other useful benefits too.
“It is great for the team here, for both mental and physical wellbeing. Any staff member was welcome to come down and help with the tree planting and make the most of getting out of the office and into the fresh air for the morning.
“It is also transforming what is currently a piece of waste land into something which is much more visually appealing, attracting wildlife and creating spaces for our staff to go and enjoy during their breaks from work.”
Gill’s colleague Crofton Davey, HR Manager for Harlech Foodservice, said the tree planting project was also great for having the opportunity to strengthen their links with the local primary school and wider community.
Crofton, whose wife Cathryn is headteacher of Ysgol Llanystumdwy, said: “We all live and work together in this beautiful region and so it makes sense for us to look at ways of engaging with the local community and joining forces together to look after it.
“It’s been lovely to team up with the children, who are literally down the road from us, and work on this project together. We are supporting them by providing the chance to take part in a project outside of school and they are helping us by coming and planting the trees and making the whole thing a lot of fun.”
One of those enjoying making the most of the tree planting project was 10-year-old Ela Bentley who is in year six at Ysgol Llanystumdwy.
Ela, who is a member of the school gardening club, said: “I have really enjoyed coming here today to help with the planting because it is a chance to get outside and do something fun.
“I really like gardening at school and now I am getting to use the things I have learned there to help plant the trees here.
“I think it will look a lot prettier once the trees and plants have grown and I am looking forward to coming back and seeing what it looks like. Hopefully it will be a better place for wildlife to come too.”
Cathryn Davey, Headteacher of Ysgol Llanystumdwy, said the planting with Harlech Foodservice had been a great opportunity for the children.
She added: “This fits in so well with a lot of things we are trying to encourage the children to think about and enjoy – getting outside more, helping others in the community and being aware of our environmental impact and how we might improve this.
“What’s also nice is that we will be able to come back and see how the trees and shrubs they have worked hard to plant this morning have grown and improved the area.
“It’s been a lovely project for us all to be involved in and we are thankful to Harlech Foodservice for inviting us along.”