Recent News at Hakeford Woods
We've had a really busy few months at Hakeford Woods, so I felt it was time for an update of the website.
We're really proud to have been delivering regular Forest School sessions to three of our local schools for the last 3 years
All of the students who have attended these weekly sessions have struggled in the mainstream education sector and attend specialist schools.
We have seen some amazing developments in all of our regular attendees, who brave the wet and the cold throughout the winter and have enjoyed the dry and the heat of the Spring and Summer. Their regular time in the woods has enabled them to improve their physical and emotional confidence, helped them to develop new skills and coping mechanisms and given them a regular break from their regular education settings.
We have offered Holiday Club Sessions during most of the school holidays, with the exception of Christmas and February half term. These have proved to be really popular and we have been delighted to be able to provide these sessions for children booked privately by their families and also places booked and funded by Devon County Council's Early Help team.
Since 2017 the Holiday Club sessions have been run by Georgie and Tim, they both have a wide variety of experiences to bring to their sessions and Georgie is based at Hakeford Woods full time.
Roundhouse Building Project Week
Unfortunately due to an unforeseen problem, Roundhouse mark 1 is no more, but like the Phoenix, Roundhouse mark 2 will be appearing soon!
Over the May Half Term Holiday Week in 2017 we suspended our regular Holiday Club sessions to embark on the "Big Build!" We had been publicising this volunteer week far and wide and were lucky enough to enlist the help of some lovely people from far and wide who were happy to pitch in with different aspects of the build in exchange for somewhere to lay their head and some fine food conjured up by Georgie and her willing assistants.
In preparation for the build we had cut most of the poles, and prepared the site. Starting on the Saturday morning, we managed to get everything done up to the finishing touches by the following Saturday. We hit a few snags along the way, broke a few tools, strained a few muscles but got there in the end. In the following weeks I also managed to get some turf on the roof and develop an irrigation system to prevent the new turf from drying out in the heat wave that immediately followed the laying of the turf onto a beautifully prepared bed of carpet!
This is a timelapse video that we recorded over the course of the main build:
The completed Roundhouse will provide an important shelter option for Forest School sessions, providing a semi permanent weather proof shelter and giving us the opportunity to keep the groups warmer and drier if the weather turns bad over the winter. The size and shape also provide us with an option for larger school groups and alternative events running in the woods in the future.
Massive thanks to everybody who helped make this dream a reality, it will be well used.
Support Received in for Hakeford Woods
Since Hakeford Woods started, we have been lucky enough to receive support in the form of financial and physical help.
Grant Funding for Wellbeing in Nature
Since starting the Wellbeing in Nature group in the Autumn of 2017 for adults struggling with Mental Health challenges, we have seen the huge benefits brought by the sessions. We realised the importance of these sessions and were quick to begin applying for funding to support this provision.
Out first grant which enabled us to get the sessions going again in the spring of 2018 was received from Recovery Devon who support projects running for those in recovery and struggling with Mental Health in the Devon area. Our next small grant was from the Sanctuary Grand Ideas Fund, this came through some of our clients being residents of Sanctuary supported living projects in the local area.
In the summer of 2018 we then received a significant grant from the Devon Community Foundation that enabled us to secure the project until the end of the year which was fantastic news for us and the regular attendees. The Devon Community Foundation helps to link funders and philanthropists with projects in the Devon community.
In the Autumn of 2018 we were one of the nominated good causes in the Tesco bags of help scheme running in the Braunton store. We were delighted to come second in the token collections and the grant received from this will help us develop this group and the associated Woodland Volunteer project
We are now delighted to announce that we have received a large grant for the project from the National Lottery Community Fund. This has now enabled us to secure the Wellbeing in Nature project until the beginning of 2020.
We are extremely grateful to the Directors of Fullabrook CIC who agreed to provide funding to enable us to complete the Green Woodwork shelter at Hakeford Woods. The construction of this shelter has been ongoing over the last 6 months and we are at the final stages of completion before we can measure up for the tarpaulin that will be paid for with this grant.
On completion, this shelter will provide us with an additional teaching area where we will be able to construct work benches, pole lathes, shave horses that will be used by our regular groups and participants on green woodwork courses that we hope to offer in the future.
Westward Pathfinder and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust
This extra help has enabled us to complete a number of jobs that had been on the "to do list", but were never actually getting done!
Thanks to the working party group, we now have an orchard enclosed by a deer proof fence (we hope!). The green woodworking shelter frame has been extended to give a large workshop space and we have managed to disguise the blue storage containers with sawmill offcuts kindly provided by Chivenor Sawmill.
The participants of the Get on Track Course were a massive help for a day in April. The 16 young people and their elite Athlete mentors helped make some important improvements around the camp. Thanks to this help, the long awaited pizza oven is now nearing completion, we have a raised fire pit in the main riverside camp and have a new path leading to the roundhouse site.
A big thanks goes to Ali Smart from Westward Pathfinder for organising these volunteer days. The help received on these days has made an enormous difference to the Forest School site and possibilities for the future.
We are really pleased to be recognised as an accredited provider by the Children's University.
Several local schools work with The Children's University (Plymouth) to recognise the value of activities that children take part in outside of their regular curriculum. If children are signed up to this programme they can receive stamps in their Children's University passport when they attend Holiday Clubs, Saturday Clubs and Wildlife Watch sessions.
In March of 2017 we received Large Working Woodland Tree Pack from the Woodland Trust. The 420 trees arrived at short notice, but thanks to a group of about 30 fantastic volunteers (adults and children) we managed to get our mix of trees planted out before planting season was over. we'll be looking forward to seeing these new areas of woodland grow and develop in the coming years.
We have received another Tree planting pack this year and will be running a Tree planting day on the 10th March 2019.