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Sunday, 16 January 2022

The Heart of England Forest invests in its future with Green Recovery Challenge Fund grant

THE Heart of England Forest has welcomed a new crop of interns and employees to its team after receiving a grant of £1.7 million from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund in December 2020. As well as supporting the creation of several new roles, the funding is enabling the charity to continue its work supporting green recovery in the region and cultivating strong roots for its future.

The government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund – which the National Lottery Heritage Fund delivered in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency – has been allocated to a variety of organisations, including the Heart of England Forest, that align with conservation and restoration and connecting people with nature. As well as creating 12 new roles across the charity and safeguarding 12 pre-existing roles, the Green Recovery Challenge Fund grant is helping the Heart of England Forest to make significant progress in achieving its aims to mitigate climate change and reverse the region’s decline in biodiversity.

The Forest’s Chief Executive, Beth Brook, commented:

“We are delighted to have been able to welcome a new wave of team members during 2021, thanks to the Green Recovery Challenge funding we received earlier this year. Having successfully recruited nine new interns working to support objectives across the charity, we’ve also recruited a Project Manager, a Tree Nursery Manager and an Assistant Tree Nursery Manager.

“Despite the challenges of the past year, it’s wonderful to see our team growing organically alongside the Forest itself: this project brings together our significant habitat creation and restoration work and mission to educate, inspire and connect people from all backgrounds with nature to implement positive, permanent change.”

With specialist backgrounds ranging from Environmental Science to Animal Behaviour, the Heart of England Forest’s newest team members are currently working across multiple areas of the charity – including its Forestry, Biodiversity and Communications teams – to broaden their skillsets and expertise whilst helping the charity reach its goals for 2021 and beyond.

Alicia Turner, Community Partnerships Intern, commented:

“When applying for my internship, I was really excited by the tangible, impactful work that the Heart of England Forest does in conservation and across the board. During my time here, I’m most excited to work with volunteers and to try to expand our volunteering base so that people who wouldn’t necessarily come to the Forest get to see how fantastic it is.”

Supporting and championing youth employment has long been a focus for the Heart of England Forest across all areas of its operations: the charity was one of the first organisations in the country to have a new Forestry Apprentice in 2019, with its second joining in 2020 on the two-year programme. Likewise, the team’s organic growth has also been bolstered by its own successful one year paid internship programmes: the Forest currently boasts a 100% retention rate of its interns that wished to pursue permanent roles within the team.

Beth added:

“As well as enabling our ongoing commitment to nurturing young talent within the sector and creating jobs within the local economy, this funding is also benefitting several other key areas of the charity. From large scale tree planting, enhancement of our existing trails for the public to the ongoing creation of a social enterprise tree nursery that will grow 2.5 million trees annually, we’ve already made significant progress with the project ahead of its scheduled completion in March 2022.”

To learn more about The Heart of England Forest, please visit: https://heartofenglandforest.org/.

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