In the years that we’ve been working at Young Wood, many, many people have approached us with ideas for projects, programmes, events and ways to make the most of what we and the land can offer.
Sometimes these work and sometimes they don’t even get off the starting blocks. We would like to help people create more projects with us that get going, and spend less time on ones that are not going to succeed. Of course, sometimes we don’t know and have to try things out, so this page is all about making co-creation work.
As well as being good at the outdoors stuff, we're also pretty experienced at all aspects of project development and funding - and bringing things from ideas into reality. That's how we've created such a great place! So we can also offer consultancy to help you develop your idea, if its a bit more complex.
Work needs to fit with our core values. Here are some examples of projects and events that we’ve co-created in the last couple of years, so you can get an idea of what's possible.
SWaT - Wild Explorers (Part 1) A series of six regular spring Forest School type days for families from our local area. Aim - to get stressed/stretched families into nature, more connected and time to relax, away from town. Commissioned and paid for by a local council whom we know well: they gave us a budget and we worked to make the most of that whilst covering our costs and overheads. We helped ‘recruit’ families as we know the area, and we provided transport and sessions, tailored to fit the needs of those who came. Following this, we successfully applied for grant funding to continue working with the families and extend the group to a wider area.
Blackdown Hills Farming and Woodland Group Hosting a one-day gathering of 30+ people from a local project that brings landowners together to share knowledge, learn from each other’s experiences and work collaboratively to improve their practices to look after the natural environment and resources on their holdings. Aim - to provide lively discussion, information and a space for people to talk to each other. We provided food, activities and campfire space for their discussions.
Inspired to Achieve (I2A) ‘Wild Learning’ Commissioned two series of woodland learning & wellbeing programmes, modelled on our Wild Learning Programme - each taking place one day a week for six weeks. Aim - to help adults to take their first steps back into work, to build confidence and make connections with others. Each programme catered for up to eight adults who are out of work, needing support or in mental health difficulty. We helped to enrol people from our local contacts, and Inspired to Achieve work coaches also sent people along. We managed bookings and linked with the I2A team on a regular basis. Free to participants, the commissioners covered all costs including transport. "Attending has helped me to have the strength to overcome many of my negative, life-limiting feelings of isolation, social anxiety, general inadequacy, and fear and suspicion of anything that was unfamiliar to me."
Naval Service Family and People Support ‘Activities Day’ An event to help families engage with the refurbished support centre at 40 Commando Base at Norton Fitzwarren. We took three staff and lots of equipment to the woods at the base and brought children and marines playing outside for a good few hours - making dens, flags, name badges and playing some games. “Thanks for making our project such a great success!"
Portsmouth Grammar School Summer Camp A five day, four-night camp for sixteen14/15 year olds, led by their Classics teacher and her mentor, who are committed to getting the students connected to nature. We provided catering, woodland camping locations and staffing for some activities, including an overnight ‘solo’ for the young people. (Our team have experience with young people and rites of passage work, as well as bushcraft and tracking.) To make this work we needed to work closely with them, and have learned some useful lessons. “It was a life changing moment for many of the students who changed their views - that means so many fewer people who are wanting to desecrate the earth and other living beings. I sometimes lose heart about how ‘little’ I am doing to try to change the world but then remember that even taking a small amount of time being outdoors can make a difference. "
Steps for co-creating or commissioning longer projects or your bespoke events. Here are some steps that will help us work together... the first steps by email and phone. If you want to pilot something, these steps still apply.
- Describe what you want to achieve Your first step. Describe to us what are you after - your aim or vision. What experiences do you want for people and/or what changes are you seeking? Who are they? Why them? How do you think coming to the woods (or to your place) will help them and your organisation? Do you have specific activities/learning aims in mind or want suggestions, or to explore ideas with the people? What time of year and days of the week? (we can be booked up so get in touch soon...)
As experienced facilitators, we can help make your ideas more concrete as we progress. If you need us to help work things out, that is likely to cost you more, and could bring you better returns.
- Have an idea of what you can afford We like to work with what people/businesses can afford, so bring us your idea and your budget and we can go from there. It will cost you something to work with us - unless you have very specific skills or items that you can trade with us, and that's only happened once or twice. Although nature is free, it costs us to manage our base, be legal and insured and to manage our staff and volunteers. We have a pricing/costing formula, so once we know what you want it won't take long to work it out. If you are chasing funding or grants, please ask us before you include us in a bid -so you know how much it will cost to hire the space and our team.
- What do you need from us to help with your decisions? We like to have things in writing and keep records, so let us know early on what you will also need to proceed. We'll ask for a contract, or give you a quote or booking form. You might need other some evidence from us of insurance, H&S, DBS checks, Risk Assessments, policies, legal compliances. Some form of due diligence may be needed for a bigger project or partnership.
- What feedback or monitoring/and or evaluation do you need from us? We are used to providing feedback, and build in very simple and easy reviews and reflections to all our work. If there is something specific you need, let us know. If it takes time and extra administration, it will cost more.
- How does this project or programme fit with other things you are doing? If this is part of a bigger project or work you are doing, how will this fit in? How does it help you and clients/people to live good lives? What else do you need from us to make those wider links?
- Help us make meetings useful We do like to meet with people and show you the woods before you sign on the dotted line. And we are small, and have no 'core team' so if we are to meet to discuss ideas then let's make it worthwhile for everyone - and for the earth. So let's have an agenda and clear aims for meetings. Have please have budget in place before you suggest a meeting, give us something to work with!
And finally, if you have an idea that could make a real difference to the planet, life and people at this time of climate emergency and are not sure if it might fit, then drop us an email - we are always interested in those ones!!
Next... drop us a email that answers these questions firstname.lastname@example.org