The end of June and the early part of July have been especially busy for the group. The help we have had from our members has enabled us to support a number of projects which have further enhanced our reputation and relationships with the NFC and Wild Rumpus (organisers of the TIMBER festival) I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped in whatever way to take the group forward yet again. This is a very busy newsletter, so please take a little time to read through, there are important items we need your feedback on. The new season is in sight, so there is lots to do in preparation
This ambitious project driven by the NFC has given us many opportunities. There were challenging situations to manage for us around supplying firewood, performing demonstrations and supporting the "Making Local Woods Work" project who have provided funding for training and consultant time for our group. Despite the difficulties we have come away from the first of these festivals with a wealth of experience.
So what did our group actually do and how were we involved?
- We ran a number of group supported volunteer Woodfuel sessions to fell timber for firewood
- We had several processing sessions to process, split and stack the firewood to allow seasoning
- We had a number of sessions with the Charcoal Retort to build experience and a stock of Charcoal
- Four members helped construct a number of benches on site for the NFC for which we were paid £100
- We had around 15 volunteers who set up and ran our part of the event over the weekend in very hot conditions
- We sold £160 worth of firewood to the wood fired Pizza team
- Despite a BBQ and fire ban on site we sold £40 of charcoal and firewood
- We made many new friends and invaluable contacts
- We have committed to next year's event and would like to attend under our own banner
- We received fantastic feedback and thanks from both the NFC and Wild Rumpus for our support and help.
For those who came along I'm sure they will share their experiences, but for myself as a first time festival goer it was a fantastic experience. I can understand concerns around ticket prices, but if you were prepared to commit to the whole weekend it was excellent value for money and very well organised. Please discuss with anyone who attended, it's something you need to hear from an attendee
Some of the team at TIMBER
Charcoal & the Retort
As mentioned in the TIMBER article we ran a number of sessions both as experience/training events and to create a stock of charcoal.
Plans for the future :-
We are now looking at outlets for our charcoal and have a number of "irons in the fire".
We are looking at potentially working with CEEP and Darren Abell to create a woodland product co-operative which would enable us all to provide a steady supply of branded charcoal (and potentially other products) into the marketplace. Steve Berrill (CEEP manager) presented a case at a special session at the TIMBER festival for woodland enterprise and was successful in winning a £500 grant. We will be working with Steve and Darren to create the co-op.
We are also offering use of the Retort to HCWG members to perform their own charcoal burns for a donation of £10. Anyone wishing to use the Retort will need to have attended a "burn" and be familiar with how the Retort operates. Please contact us if you are interested - a burn provides around 25kg of charcoal from your own firewood.
As the group grows we have decided to move to an online session booking system. This will let members see what sessions are planned for the coming months. You will be able to reserve a place on a session yourself or if the session is full add yourself to the waiting list. You will also be able to see what sessions you have booked onto and cancel your reservation if you are no longer able to make the session.
More details will be sent out towards the end of August
We are planning to meet up at Woodcote, the woods we will be working in during the 2018/19 season for an informal walk around to familiarise everyone with the site.
We want to make it as soon as possible so we are aiming for next Wednesday the 1st August at 7.00pm til around 9.00pm
There is plenty of car parking at the site which is located just off the Derby Road from the A511 Ashby by-pass towards Ticknall. Take the first turning on the right and follow the narrow lane till you see the car park on both sides of the road.
The woodland trust info on the site can be found here
AGM Heads Up
An early reminder that this year's AGM will be held on September 10th, 7.00pm at the Railway Inn Moira. It will be an important AGM this year, not only for the usual business, but we will be seeking support for changes to the constitution to move the groups legal status to a "Community Interest Company". This change is vital to our structure and we want everyone to understand what it means to individuals and our organisation.
We will also be asking every member to confirm they have read the constitution and commit to it's contents to confirm their membership. This will ensure everyone within the group understands and agrees to what we are all here to achieve.
Please put a note in your diary.
Corporate Days in the woods
At the end of June we ran a corporate day for around 30 people from Lex Autoleasing. This event was ran as an experiment to see what processes and management we need to put in place to run a successful event of this type which provides a woodland experience for the participants. The feedback from Lex was very good and we now understand how these events would run and how many people we need to run them.
Our plan is to run this type of sessions in the future for local businesses who want to spend a day in the woods for all sorts of reasons including well being, corporate environmental responsibilities or simply as team events. We plan to charge for these events and hope this will become a good source of income for the group. If you know of any companies or contacts who you think may be interested please let us know.
Interesting Sites you may want to take a look at
woodlandantics.wordpress.com - A great source of information for Greenwood and Woodland Crafts
livingwoodsmagazine.co.uk/ - Free magazine packed with useful information and articles
www.wildrumpus.org.uk - Joint organisers of the TIMBER festival.