A new Community Project

With Heritage Lottery funding we were able to expand our programme of activities, to help new audiences experience Westonbirt, the National Arboretum.

A group of people sharing their results of a community project

Working with disadvantaged and hard to reach groups, we created a diverse programme of activities. Read our new 'How to hygge a tree' resource, which sums up the key ingredients needed to run a successful community programme.

This wonderful work allowed Westonbirt Arboretum to employ two community officers, who have delivered inspiring workshops and outreach sessions to engage people with the arboretum and the natural world.

The team have worked with at-risk adults, such as dementia groups and those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The arboretum provides a safe space where participants can take part in hands-on day visits and practical conservation activities. Some participants are able to work towards their John Muir Awards, as well as benefiting from the positive impact on their wellbeing.

As part of the HLF project, our community officers and volunteers conducted outreach sessions for those who weren't able to visit, such as people in care homes. Taking natural items from the arboretum, they ran reminiscence sessions, encouraging the sharing of memories and stories.

The project also ran sessions for groups of young people, including young carers, as well as guides, scouts and youth club groups. Activities ranged from building a cob oven, to camp fire cookouts, conservation coppicing and orienteering.

This was a fantastic project that furthered our mission to ensure everyone has the chance to experience nature, running programmes that gave disadvantaged groups the opportunity to engage with trees and the outdoors.

Although HLF funding ended in 2017, thanks to funds from our members and supporters, the Friends are funding a permanent Community Coordinator, ensuring that this important work continues well into the future.

STIHL Treetop Walkway

The awe-inspiring, accessible walkway that takes you through the treetops

Our supportive funders

Our incredible funders were central to the Westonbirt Project's success

Visit the Forestry Commission website to find out more about the community programmes on offer.

Help disadvantaged people to experience the natural world by donating to our appeal