Wooplaw Community Woodland Workshop, August 2007

Money and community woodlands

Grant funding

"requires formal structures - you're forced into it".
"Our funded employee … spent two-thirds of their time on the grant funders' paperwork."
"It's impossible to get grants for crucial things", such as forestry equipment… "it's very constraining."

A wood can pay for itself

"In the long term, [a 20 hectare wood] is easily self funding… a large oak tree is worth £500…" But most of the time, a community woodland may not be actively managed - and you can't use just volunteers for the larger trees.

Some community woodland people have a "cuddly attitude... the idea of growing trees to chop them down is difficult."

Social enterprise

A strongly business model was provided by Hill Holt Wood, a social enterprise which provides 14 full time jobs and many benefits to the local area. Comparisons were made - in Wooplaw, a supervisor was paid to bring youths to work in the woods - grant funding had to be found; in Hill Holt Wood, similar work brings income into the project.

Different communities want different things

Different communities have different attitudes to money, and different skills. A lot of community woodlands "don't have people on the management who can see the opportunities." "Not-for-profit isn't important: what matters is what you do with the profit, how you reinvest. So many social enterprise people don't want to talk about money." And it depends what the community wants, as well - "Our courses are self-financing. It works: it's a scale limitation."