GROWING AND LEARNING IN URBAN ENVIRONMENTS – WORKING TOGETHER LIKE GLUE!
The GLUE collective is a group of makers, play workers, artists, community workers and horticulturalists seeking to address current and emerging social, health and economic challenges in our local communities write Directors Simbi Folarin and Faith Pearson.
The opportunities we deliver offer participants contact with nature and the outdoor environment and in the last 18 months we have developed two outdoor community hubs. Through our activities we work with groups and individuals work who experience a range of challenges, these may include living with domestic violence, recovering from substance misuse, mental health or long term unemployment.
With the knowledge of the therapeutic benefits access to the natural environment provides and the realisation that many of the people we work with desperately need mental and physical space GLUE bought a small piece of ancient woodland in order to create a ‘place to ponder’.
Securing support from the Plunkett Foundation through the Making Local Woods Work project we at the GLUE collective have started working on a Woodland Management plan and, crucially, to ensure the sustainability of this work over the long term, have been developing an organisational business plan.
A vision for the woodland
Working together with Paul Orsi at the Sylva Foundation and Meena Bharadwa, Development Manager at Locality we set about a process for developing a woodland management plan starting with establishing a vision for the woodland. Asked to close our eyes and imagine the woodland in five and ten years time this group of creatives were in their element! Through a process of grouping words and images and listing (over 30!) activities the collective developed this vision of their woodland:
“A welcoming, stimulating woodland to explore possibilities with zones and spaces to activate your senses and connect with the world around you”
How to get there
The next step was for us as a group to identify the key objectives that would make this vision happen and the actions that sat underneath that.
Learning as they go...
We are also taking the opportunity to learn from other woodlands and will soon be visiting Achieving Results in Communities who run Foundry Wood in Leamington. Director Simbi Folarin says:
“'It’s been great for me being a part of MLWW, because I thinks its been about meeting different people; we get to share our vision - show new people around our small plot and as a bonus we get feedback, support and advice”