BRINGING WOODLANDS TO LIFE

Our first outdoor health strategy meeting of 2022

3 Feb 2022

Back in 2021, Coed Lleol (Small Woods Wales) were awarded £1.5 million in funding by the Enabling Natural Resources and Wellbeing (ENRaW) Fund to develop pioneering greenspace and woodland hubs. These spaces will focus on meeting the needs of local communities for social prescribing, community activity, training and skills development, and improvements to the local environment.

Last week, some of the team got together for our first outdoor health strategy of 2022. Not only was this a welcome opportunity to meet face to face (some of us for the first time!) but also a chance to reflect on our strengths and start developing the strategy for outdoor health with this new funding in mind.

After a Team Strengths Analysis and a discussion on ways of working that can support wellbeing, we spent the afternoon focusing on strategy review and planning. We were asked to consider the following:

·       What’s gone well?

·       What’s been challenging?

·       Where should this area of work be in 5 years’ time?

·       What resources & actions are needed?

·       How do we evidence the need for these developments?

Each one of our woodland hubs across Wales has been given the opportunity to apply for developing their site eg. improving paths, building shelters, increasing accessibility etc.  This is a very exciting prospect, so naturally we spent a fair amount of time helping our new Woodland Hubs Coordinator, Zena, look at the strategy and where it will fit within the organisation. However, there were also opportunities for the training, communication, fundraising and social forestry strategies to be examined, and to brainstorm ideas for our business plan which will continue beyond the project end in June 2023.

It was a great day with an abundance of ideas and productive conversations, we even managed to squeeze in a walk round a nearby lake at lunchtime, to make the most of the January sun. Everyone agreed how useful it had been to have conversations in person, and we are looking forward to our next strategy meeting in June!

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