A born and bred Forester, Steve has a passion for woodland and green woodworking skills. Since being made redundant some years ago he has struggled to find work and true satisfaction. Finding the New Leaf project and volunteering at Kensley Sheds has helped him to develop his skills and has given him a new focus and a potential new career.
“I’ve been interested in Bushcraft and primitive living skills for years and green woodwork has been a hobby. When I heard about the workshop at Kensley Sheds from a friend, it sounded just my thing.” Said Steve. He got involved with New Leaf and met Scott Baine from the Rewild Project, who is project leader for Heritage Craft Skills. He discovered a whole range of interesting courses and activities that he could take part in. “I’ve learned lots of new skills with the Rewild Project courses – tanning, leatherwork, wool spinning. But I’ve also been able to develop my existing green woodworking skills and use them to help out on some of the courses as a volunteer.” He said. “It’s made a big difference. It has perpetuated what I do and has linked my skills together on a different level. It has improved my skills, and my confidence has grown greatly. It has shown me that I can teach other people new skills and that I could maybe use that to build a business.”
“I have gained some proper qualifications; Chainsaw Cross Cutting and Tree Felling City & Guilds and Adult Education Entrepreneurship and Preparation for Business.” Said Steve. “That has given me a real lift! I’m also the voluntary Site Manager over at Kensley Sheds for New Leaf.”
Steve has had some great experiences through his volunteering. “I discovered that I really love tree felling. It’s a great feeling taking a tree down and I love the way we are being eco-friendly and low impact by using a tree and everything on it.” Steve said. “I made my first green wood gate with Richard Gates, who is one of the best men in the UK teaching this kind of thing. It was a real buzz to learn from someone so renowned!”
Steve’s volunteering experience has motivated him with a range of plans. “I want to get a teaching qualification and am going self-employed.” Said Steve. “I feel like I can make a living out of something that I enjoy, which is amazing!”
Follow Steve’s journey on Instagram @ned_bushcrafter
You might be surprised what you find!
From creating habitats for our wildlife or improving our waterways, to recording oral histories or finding old photos, there’s always something going on to get involved in!