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Colleagues from the North of England’s gas distributer, Northern Gas Networks (NGN) have been getting their hands dirty in the name of conservation.

NGN distributes gas to 2.7 million homes and businesses across the North East, Northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire, to cities and towns including Bradford, Leeds, Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Huddersfield, Hull, York and Carlisle.

NGN linked up with Yorkshire and Durham Wildlife Trusts in 2016 to offer colleagues six volunteer days throughout the year, where employees could take their two annual days of paid volunteering leave to get involved in the Trusts’ efforts at nature reserves around Yorkshire and Durham.

Volunteers have now clocked around 400 hours of volunteering with the Trusts since June 2016, working on projects such as fence building, clearing scrubland, removing ragwort from cow pasture and promoting the healthy growth of insect-friendly meadows.

And as a thank you for the YWT’s support, NGN’s Environment team presented six pairs of tree loppers to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Project Lead Elspeth Robinson at Water Haigh Park reserve in Woodlesford, Leeds.

NGN: Environment Officer Hannah Jewison, Environment strategy manager Karen Fisher, and their volunteers from NGN, donate a set of tree loppers to Reserves Officer Elspeth Robinson and her volunteers from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, near Leeds, West Yorks., March 13 2017. Hannah is standing far left, Karen is centre right with purple wellies, and Elspeth is centre left

Environment Officer Hannah Jewison (first left), Environment strategy manager Karen Fisher (centre right), and volunteers from NGN donate a set of tree loppers to Reserves Officer Elspeth Robinson (centre left) and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Hannah Jewison, Environment Officer for NGN said: “Working with the Wildlife Trusts has been a brilliant way for colleagues to get some fresh air and do something different while still getting paid all in the name of a great cause.

“It’s been amazing to see colleagues from all areas of the business come together and work as a team to achieve some brilliant results. We’ve built fences, cleared scrubland and removed large swathes of invasive species to help wildlife flourish on Yorkshire and Durham Wildlife Trust sites. Active days outdoors also have important benefits for the mental and physical wellbeing of our colleagues.

“The partnership has produced some great results for the Trusts and provided a fantastic experience for NGN colleagues.”

Elspeth Robinson of the YWT said: “We would like to thank NGN for presenting us with these loppers, having good tools makes such a difference to the work we do as it makes the job a lot easier and safer.

“Over this last year NGN volunteers have been working with us to help manage many of our sites in the Lower Aire Valley, they have been involved in all kinds of tasks from fencing, to removing invasive plants and scrub thinning. I can’t thank the teams enough for all the hard work they have put in and the results they have achieved.”

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