Project Category: Co-Operative
Axewoods is a not-for-profit volunteer organisation that aims are to provide free woodland management to local charities, woodland owners, farmers and other organisations. We address local fuel poverty by supplying, free of charge, wood fuel to those in need. The Log Bank is an initiative to make dry, seasoned logs available free of charge to local people in fuel poverty and those in need of help. We accept referrals from local agencies, food banks and informal networks to promote the Log Bank and distribute logs.
We work together with numerous local organisations for collective community benefits, offer advice, education, NPTC qualifications and woodland training events. Axewoods is managed by a committee of officers who take on responsibility for specific aspects of our work and has a good mixture of age, gender and background.
We work closely with local woodland owners -which range from The National Trust, Forestry England, County and Local Council Nature Reserves, Clinton Devon Estates, County Wildlife Trusts to smaller charity owned woods, private woodlands and farms. Being able to exploit these relationships and build projects that bring more local people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds into contact with the wonders of the natural world and the benefits of focussed activity in nature is powerful!
We are aware of similar projects in the UK, but none in our SW region so we feel that we fill an important local function and offer a good model for other projects. The East Devon Log Bank is now firmly established and working well as more and more local agencies and food banks learn that we are here. Last year we helped establish and build stock for a new log bank at Torquay Hospital with the Torbay NHS Trust, but Covid-19 has postponed the formal launch so they are simply helping out where necessary.
The village of Beer started a Men’s Shed to address the problem of loneliness and lack of social contact for local men. We supplied them with timber from our milling machines for their community projects. The project has grown quickly so we have worked with them to jointly fund a planing machine to produce high quality timber for their work. Also their members are welcome to join in with our activities – so great cross fertilisation!
Because Axewoods members work for free we have built a close relationship with a number of local organisations and charities. From initially offering woodland management, tree felling and other activities to charities such as the WESC Foundation, Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust we can see an exciting and dynamic future with shared projects.
We recently supplied a local Forest School provider with logs as they were unable to source logs for all of their sites. We hope to develop this link and become a regular supplier of wood and, as we have a number of teachers as members, can expand the relationship to include other activities in support of their work.
We feel that we have developed some established, powerful links across our community and are now ready to make our project wider in scope and ambition . We will need funding for training, transport and tea!
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