Programmes of outdoor activities using local woodlands to help people feel more connected to nature
ELGT has been working with a variety of community groups in a range of woodland activity projects over the past ten or more years and as such has built a strong network of community links.
ELGT has continued our involvement in encouraging people to access woodland areas on a regular basis. It is often the case that the leaders and workers in these groups are enthusiastic about outdoor-based activities but do not feel that they have the resources or skills needed to deliver a programme of activities. There are often a number of workers in each service and whilst we may have worked with some in previous programmes, it will be more possible by delivering additional programmes to reach and support more staff. This builds a stronger skills base within the organisation and allows them to establish woodland activities as central to their delivery programmes.
Thanks to the funding from Scottish Forestry through the community fund we have been able to work with the groups to develop and deliver a structured programme of six sessions. These sessions are delivered over six weeks, according to the needs of the group. At the outset of the project, we engage community group leaders and workers in designing the programme and planning the sessions. The sessions are delivered in woodland areas that the group could easily access on foot.
Oxgangs group in Redford Woods
The 3 groups that we are working with in Oxgangs include:
- Triangle Community – a community group project which developed around a derelict greenspace which is now being improved for everyone in the community to use and enjoy together.
- Pentland Community Centre– a community centre offering supportive groups to people of all ages
- Older People – a group of older adults coming from various residential care homes and community support organisations – including Oxgangs Care, Best BIB n Tucker and Oxgangs Walking Group.
The groups have been taken part in Tree ID and woodland bulb planting to help them understand and improve their local woodlands.
Dads Work Group in Levenhall Woods
Dads Work is a community project in East Lothian working with fathers and male care givers. It provides support groups, workshops on the role of fathers and outings for fathers and their children.
The project has enabled participants to engage in activities that protect the woodland area whilst learning about the environment and sustainable practices.
The group planted trees that will help prevent the area becoming boggy, provide habitat for wildlife and reduce maintenance costs. They also took part in a bird walk so they can learn about the local wildlife.
“The guys from Dads Work East Lothian did an amazing job at Levenhall Links and planted 200 trees! Everyone got stuck in despite the drizzle and seemed to enjoy themselves too.”
The project leader said “great teamwork and community partnership working”
"It was a fun experience, something I've never done before."
Funded by: Scottish Forestry
- 6 sessions of woodland activities in Oxgangs
- 5 sessions of conservation with Dads Work
- 50m of hedging maintained at Levenhall Links
- 5m of brash hedge created at Levenhall Links
- Extended opportunities for people to gain new skills and knowledge
- Increased number of people from community groups who regularly access woodland areas
- Increased participation in environmental and outdoor-based activities
- Increased promotion of woodlands as places for health, education and enjoyment
- Greater numbers of people feel a sense of ownership for their urban woodland resources and are encouraged to feel safe and welcome while using them
- Mental and physical well being maximised through increased activity levels and contact with woodlands
- Greater opportunities for social interaction through environmental activity
- Increasing number of people regularly using woods for health, well being, learning and enjoyment.