SCHOOLS and community groups in the Wee County are being encouraged to take advantage of an opportunity and plant trees for free.

The Woodland Trust is encouraging communities to be a part of a "green recovery" from Covid–19 through its free scheme.

Applications are currently being taken for saplings to be delivered by the charity next March.

There are various packs available with a mix of UK sourced and grown native broadleaf species, such as hazel, rowan, hawthorn, common oak, silver birch, wild cherry, elder, dogwood and holly.

Some will provide year-long colour, a wild harvest or a haven for wildlife.

Other options contain hardy species and there are packs in a number of sizes to support everything from residential areas with limited communal spaces to areas the size of a football pitch.

Vicky Baddeley, senior project lead at the Woodland Trust, said: "Lockdown has proved to us the value people put on green spaces.

"Having somewhere to escape to, to clear their heads and get fresh air has never been so important.

"They've found comfort and strength from daily walks, rediscovering the joys of trees, woods and the wildlife within them.

"Our free trees for schools and community groups give us the opportunity to create more of these spaces and address the climate and nature crises at grass roots level.

"We've heard a lot about economic recovery as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but you can't make the economy more resilient without making the environment resilient too."

Schools looking to take part can also access a variety of tools online to help with planning and interactive activities.

And for each tree planted, schools can earn points for the Woodland Trust's Green Tree Schools Award.

The project is supported by Sainsbury's, the People's Postcode Lottery, Lloyds Bank, Joules and the Bank of Scotland.

Interested schools and community groups can visit for more details and to apply.