Bramblewood is a hidden gem, near to Worcester City Centre, at the heart of the densely populated Arboretum and Lansdowne Road areas. Its growing group of stalwart volunteers have nurtured the previously neglected site into a thriving mosaic of wild habitats, and a small forest school site, equipped to offer sessions for 36 children each week.
This project will take Bramblewood into its new chapter which is now even more important, mid pandemic. With proper composting loo facilities, a larger shelter over the fire circle and a larger more sturdy, equipped tool shelter, Bramblewood will give Worcester City residents a secure woodland venue for skills and craft tuition, forest school for more children and a wider age group, a local outdoor education venue for schools, and, by skilling 2 leaders up as qualified Wellbeing in Nature Practitioners, will offer social prescriptions and social forestry to adults in need of social and mental health support.
What we'll deliver:
- Extend our sheltered fireside area to accommodate 18 people socially distanced and dry, or a whole school class.
- Create a temporary covered tool area for green woodworking for up to 8 people to work under.
- Create proper toilet facilities to enable sessions for adults to run at Bramblewood.
- Train 2 qualified Wellbeing in Nature Practitioners to offer quality social prescriptions and social forestry.
- Provide equipment and storage needed to offer more forest school places, social forestry and woodland skills workshops.
- Offer basic woodland skills workshops, e.g. beginners whittling, kitchen utensil making, lads and dads survival days.
- Increase the number of places available at Saturday Forest School to pre-lockdown levels
- Once qualified, offer wellbeing and social forestry sessions to local groups
- Employ a local forest school leader to run regular sessions for home educated children/preschool groups/local nurseries.
- Pursue existing outreach links with partner organisations, e.g. Worcester Community Trust, The Duckworth Trust.
Why it's a great idea:
Time spent in nature is good for everyone, and the need for nature in our lives has never been more acutely felt post lockdown.
Skilling and tooling up The Bramblewood Project will put this already hardworking and productive little CIC onto a new foundation, providing Worcester with a vibrant local woodland skills and nature connection venue accessible on foot or public transport from across the city.
Extending our sheltered area will secure Bramblewood’s future as a forest school, enable it to open to more families, and offer real opportunities to more adults in the city to build on their 5 ways to wellbeing (Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, and Give) in a safe outdoor setting. By ensuring our sessions are led by qualified Wellbeing in Nature Practitioners, work with adults, as with children at forest school, will be grounded in theory, evidence and experience.
Steps to get it done:
- Acquiring the waterproof fire circle shelter and tool area tarpaulin and materials.
- Coppicing a hazel and widening the fire circle - building new benches
- Installing the rigging for the fire circle shelter, risk assessing its use, pitching and striking procedures..
- Increase Forest School capacity to 18 children, and plan and advertise Pre school sessions.
- Reinstalling and securing the old allotment terracing for the new larger equipped tool area.
- Sinking and securing the tarpaulin supports and shelter frame in the tool area.
- Installing the tool area tarpaulin, risk assessing its use, assembly and striking procedures
- Acquire tools identified as necessary.
- Book 2 places on RQF Wellbeing in Nature Practitioner course as it become available.
- Progress plans with Worcester Community Trust and other community groups.
- Lay on regular fortnightly community volunteering group
- Plan, source practitioners and advertise program of woodland craft and woodland 'social practitioner' workshop sessions.
Building a sustainable composting toilet was to have been the keystone volunteer build of the project, mid spring, and we were already garnering significant pledges of time and materials from local people in readiness. When lockdown closed forest school, however, we realised we needed to carry on as much as restrictions would allow, so very gradually over lockdown, with a few solid offers of advice and support and volunteer hours - a nurse and speech therapist learned the theory and skills necessary to built a 'Treebog' with a number of volunteers, bit by bit. The Lockdown Loo was ready to use when we re-opened forest school for the summer holidays. We are currently working on providing warm, foot operated, running water inside the loo for handwashing. See the Tale of the Lockdown Loo video for more details.