Evaluating the Forest Centre

We’re evaluating the impact of our work during our Woodland Heritage Project. Download our mid-project Evaluation Report below

Our grant from National Lottery Heritage Fund is enabling us to do so much in the arboretum (despite Covid!), including running our weekly Woodland Management Days, free events, new maps and signage, new tree plantings, to name just a few things. It’s a very exciting time for the arboretum, and for us as an organisation.

The grant is funding our Woodland Heritage Project, through which we hope to: improve the arboretum through management and new plantings; get more people involved with it; positively impact their wellbeing; improve tree labelling and interpretation around the site; and help people learn and develop new skills.

To make sure we’re achieving our objectives, we are are using some of the grant to fund a independent evaluation of the project, working with independent researcher Amanda Pyne for this purpose. Amanda has been gathering and analysing feedback from visitors and volunteers (many of you reading this will have kindly contributed), and has produced a mid-project report, summarising our impact in 2020 and putting forward recommendations. We are very pleased to share this report with you below.

The evaluation report highlights some really lovely feedback from visitors, volunteers, and a local college group, as well as putting forward some recommendations for improvements. Some comments from open day visitors include:

Another great event! Good information, especially re the bugs”

“Our family had a fantastic day. We loved the community vibes and lovely company”

“Enjoyed our visit, glad we know about this place now!

And from our volunteers:

“Thanks to the organisers for being patient, trusting and informative. I really like their approach to teaching use of new tools in particular: it’s quite simple, not overly laboured. Just a straightforward explanation of the technique’s and associated risks and then they let you get on with it for a bit, Its quite empowering!”

“Because especially with Covid, life’s quite stressful It just gives mental wellbeing, it just makes me feel better and physically you feel like you’re doing something for your physical health as well”

“[Volunteering] Provides me with a sense of wellbeing. Giving to community without need to get over involved with the organisation of things. I find the inclusive and kind approach to volunteers exceptional. Leadership is provided in a way you hardly notice, allowing people to try new things in a safe environment and gently guiding to the correct technique. Superb!”

There are too many lovely quotes to include here, so please to read the full report!

Amanda’s work is continuing throughout 2021, so please bear with us if we ask you to complete some forms when you come to an event or do some volunteering with us. We really value your input! And it is vital to securing future funding, and the longevity of the Forest Centre.

Thank you to all of our supporters, everyone who filled out forms and took part in interviews, and to Amanda for putting it all together. We are feeling very proud of what we are achieving together with our community.