On Sunday 13th October The Rewild Project team relaunched the Foresters’ Forest New Leaf Social Forestry project at their open day held at Kensley Shed, in the heart of the Forest.
Over 100 people came along during the day officially opened by Councillor Chris McFarling of Forest of Dean District Council who ‘cut the ribbon’, a beautiful garland of foraged leaves, with the project's leader Scott Baine.
New Leaf Social Forestry Project is now under the new direction of The Rewild Project. New Leaf is one of the 38 Foresters' Forest projects funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This project is creating a traditional crafts community at Kensley Shed, based within the Forest of Dean, helping and engaging with vulnerable groups. This includes those who are unemployed, vulnerable, have additional needs and those who may be lonely and isolated. They also work with children who have been removed from the conventional education system. The New Leaf Social Forestry Project aims to make Kensley Shed a 'safe space' for social interaction and to learn new skills with no judgement or pressure.
Scott Baine, of The Rewild Project, said:
“We have been running projects like this for over five years now in the Forest. New Leaf is for Foresters in need of a safe space, to learn about woodland management and receive training in heritage crafts within a supportive environment. The training is free, funded by Forester’s Forest programme. It is literally providing people with challenging lives the chance to ‘turn a new leaf’ in life.”
Councillor, Chris McFarling added:
“This project exemplifies the wise use of natural and human resources. Working with nature, rather than just using it. I am keen to see more vulnerable youngsters participate in and receive support from New Leaf”.
Steve Perks, now a volunteer with New Leaf encourages people to participate and shares his personal experience, saying:
“I’ve learned lots of new skills with the Rewild Project and New Leaf courses, such as 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.
“It’s made a big difference. 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.” To find out more about Steve's journey with New Leaf and The Rewild Project
If you or someone you know could benefit from participating in the New Leaf project please contact Amy Kemmett at The Rewild Project via tel: 07488 239 462 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org