We thought we'd start a regular round up of news to help you keep up to date with what we've been doing, so here goes our first one for the month of November. And what a month it was!
On site projects and workshops
Iain, our new apprentice, started, and we've been working on site, improving where we can and generally catching up with site jobs.
November is a quiet time for delivering events, but our latest Garden Bench workshop was great fun! All participants left with sturdy benches, big grins, and a new familiarity with axes! Some reported aching arms the following day!
There's also been a few birthday parties, which means lots of den building, treasure hunts, and bows and arrows. Oh, and lots of marshmallows and cake! Thanks to everyone who's braved the elements!
We're working with a local nursery to see if we can build them an outdoor classroom.
Local school Ballikinrain have been coming out for a half day each week. The youngsters have been doing some great green woodworking. So far, they have made egg cups, stools, wands, and Christmas reindeer, and they've been doing lots of log splitting.
Bearsden primary visited us for their now annual Stig of the Dump survival day. The P6s loved building dens and scavenging across the site for materials. We went to the school the following day and ran sessions in making bows and arrows, and toasting marshmallows round the fire.
We've been delivering Branching Out projects on behalf of ACT, the Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust. Branching Out is a Mental Health project that gets people into woodlands, building social groups and experience of being in nature. Projects usually involve a wide range of craft and woodland-based activities over a 12-week period. Although our projects finished earlier in the autumn, we're delivering a follow-on project to improve the gardens at a community hub for mental health service users. So far, the group has built raised beds, a willow sculpture and a bench.
Iain and I went up to Oban to deliver a workshop at Dunollie castle. The group made a fantastic gate hurdle using split timber, axes and shave horses - and had so much fun that they've asked us to come back in the new year.
Now we have a coppicing apprentice, we've been out in the coppice at Redlees Park. We've nearly finished the work from last season's cutting and will soon start on the next coup. Timber from last season has been used on a wide range of our projects and will be our material for the coming charcoal season.
We've also been approached by Doune Community Woodland Group to help with a new coppice project, and are discussing how we can get involved.
Grants and funding
We're delighted to announce that we've been successful in a second Peoples Postcode Lottery Grant application! They have awarded us the maximum amount for a social enterprise to support a monthly volunteer day. This is great news as we've always struggled to fund volunteer days, but really want to keep them as part of our programme. Thanks to the grant, we're now planning ten volunteer events, on the first Saturday of the month. We will do some site work at Green Aspirations, the coppice site and we'll also help out at up to four other community woodland sites. Watch this space for further details!
We've been working hard to finalise the programme for the second Great Scottish Spoon Hoolie and plans are well underway. For 2018, we're adding pre-fest courses, and have an even more fabulous list of skilled trainers. Details and tickets online soon!
Oh - and we've been working on some new workshops, and have dates for next year, with more to be added. Check out the programme here: https://www.greenaspirationsscotland.co.uk/workshops
So much for November. The woods get quieter as we head towards the end of the year, but there's always things to do. Remember to step outside amidst the chaos of the season and reconnect with nature. And we'll see you on the other side!