Making Local Woods Work is delighted to present a series of films to showcase the diversity and impact of woodland social enterprises. The films are intended to inspire community groups and others to see the potential for woodland social enterprises to be sustainable and valuable local assets. Each enterprise is a reflection of the type of woodland resources available as well as the dedication and hard work of entrepreneurs working amongst their local communities. Each illustrates a unique set of opportunities open to woodland social enterprises.
Groups featured in the films also embody one or more of eight themes that bring together woodland social enterprises. These represent both some of the most common services delivered by these enterprises along with some of their key principles, aims and objectives:
Enterprise - Woodlands can be substantial income-generating assets for local communities. Social enterprises are especially adept at taking advantage of multiple sources of income to achieve the financial sustainability needed to support their social and environmental goals.
Community - Local communities are vital to sustainable social enterprises and MLWW advocates for community members to take a strong stake in them. The project promotes working together to protect and manage woodlands and provide the community with a resource to enjoy.
Building - Local timber is often overlooked as a building resource. MLWW aims to promote woodland management which generates good quality timber for use in construction, particularly in needed local, community-based developments. We work with our partners to identify and encourage routes to market for woodland social enterprises.
Education - Services that support learning are a key element of service delivery for woodland social enterprises. A broad range is offered from Forest School activities, to working with excluded children and delivering a range of practical craft or bushcraft workshops. Today there is a huge appetite to ‘get back’ to nature and learn these skills.
Biodiversity - Woodland social enterprises want to work with nature and have a positive impact on the trees and wildlife in the woodlands they work in. Properly managed, woodland can be revitalised and lost species restored. Many of our groups specifically target poor quality woodland to have the greatest environmental impact.
Culture - Woodland culture is resurgent in the UK and woodland social enterprises are playing a big role. Opportunities to engage in woodland arts and culture-based activities are growing, restoring forgotten cultural connections and making new links between people and woodlands.
Health - The evidence linking positive health benefits to being in a natural environment is increasingly strong, especially in woodlands. Woodland social enterprises are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this by offering a range of health and wellbeing services to healthcare providers and individuals.
Regeneration - Woodland social enterprises demonstrate time and again the huge community level social and environmental impacts they have and their contribution to the revival of local areas. Our groups play a vital regenerative role in collaboration with their local communities.