SOCIAL ENTERPRISE? GROWN IN BRITAIN ACCREDITATION SHOULD BE ON YOUR TO-DO LIST, WRITES ADAM FREEMAN.
The happy bit.
If someone said to you "Fill this in and you'll get a freebie that has the potential to increase sales, raise the profile of your enterprise and add gravitas to funding applications" chances are you would be skeptical, wary of a catch somewhere. How about if what you filled in became a highly flexible tool for the management of your woodland? Because that's what we've discovered here at Pembroke 21C Community Interest Company, writes Adam Freeman, Project Manager.
To prove to Grown in Britain that your woodland makes the grade, you first complete a management plan using the myForest app (a web management tool provided by Sylva Foundation), available at www.myforest.org.uk. By going through this process you are bringing your attention to bear on every aspect of your woodland, by doing so you get to know your woodland on a deeper level - and this is going to make its management a lot easier.
In brief, myForest allows you to draw important features, compartments etc. as a layer using Google Maps. Work through the plan for each compartment, taking into consideration species, DBH, any historical features. Consider how you are going to manage rodent and deer damage. Have you contacted your woodland neighbours and introduced yourselves? Where does your woodland fit into the landscape, does it have or is it near a designation (SSSI, AONB, SAC). Have you checked for TPO's?
When completed you submit your plan to Grown in Britain, when you pass the test (don't worry there's help available from the Grown in Britain team and Sylva) within about a month you have your accreditation. So what does that mean? Well for us, to be able to display the Grown In Britain logo means that we can satisfy our customers that our products are from sustainably managed woodland right here in Pembrokeshire. We're submitting an application to the Timber Business Investment Scheme and Grown in Britain accreditation proves our commitment to woodland we manage.
The grumpy bit.
In Scotland and England they have the Forestry Commission, Northern Ireland has the Forest Service and here in Wales we have NRW (Natural Resources Wales/Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru) – which, to be fair, is subject to the impoverished funding of all other Assembly departments. However, NRW don’t have a management plan on myForest which is an enormous shame, as myForest is perfect for the management of smaller parcels of productive, if tricky, woodland. So come on NRW, put your (reduced) money where your mouth is, get behind woodland social enterprises and get a management plan for Welsh woodland onto myForest.