News and Events
Youth Multimedia and Food Workshop in Spain
Raising the profile and skills of young people
by working with and recording sustainable enterprises that produce and process food
International workshop for 18-30 year olds
7-13th April 2019 in Cantabria, Spain
Get free travel, accommodation and meals
Join a team of young people from the UK and Spain
Join webinars before and after the workshop
Improve your food production, multimedia and entrepreneurial skills
Visit a range of sustainable food producers and processors in farms, gardens and kitchens
Make videos, podcasts and blogs about food producers, cooks and their work
Gain experience of producing, processing and cooking healthy organic food, and learn the traditional food cultures of Spain
Are you between 18 and 30 years old and resident in the UK?
Do you want to learn with others about producing multimedia and food? Enthusiasm for learning with and from young people from other cultures and countries is essential. You will be making short videos, podcasts and blogs using smartphones etc. and learning about sustainable farming and food production.
Do you have some experience in multimedia and food? We are looking for young people with some experience (however limited) in food production or processing and/or making short videos.
Do you want to use this experience in future? Perhaps for your own production, volunteering, community action or mini-enterprise.
Further details and the workshop programme are on yoofproject.org
To apply – Download and complete the short application form -
Send to email@example.com by Monday December 31st 2018.
Building the links for Rockingham Forest Rockingham Forest
Proposed two year community engagement project with funding from The National Heritage Lottery Fund.
August 2022 – 2024
Four volunteers from Friends of Fineshade, including Adam Cade of Susted, have helped to develop the Rockingham Forest Vision and have steered it up until this application. The River Nene Regional Park (RNRP), as the lead partner, is supporting Rockingham Forest Vision (RFV) whose initial aims are to:
connect local communities to the forest’s natural and cultural heritage, seeking opportunities for the public to engage and take action to aid nature recovery
work with partner organisations and landowners to enhance existing sites and connect core habitats, creating an enriched biodiverse and climate-resilient landscape.
recognise and promote the value of outdoor activity in health and wellbeing through participation programmes in urban and rural areas.
A vision for Rockingham Forest
The Rockingham Forest has many landowners, with some families tracing their roots back several centuries. Many manage their land with great sympathy for wildlife and landscape, but there is no overall strategy or plan for the whole Forest. This project will begin the process of developing an overall vision. This vision could guide local planning and housing policy, farming, forestry, mineral extraction and restoration, and initiatives for recreation and tourism. This will focus local and national government initiatives on the preservation, improvement and public benefit of the forest area.
Major landowners including Natural England, the North Northamptonshire Council and the Forestry Commission are key partners, along with the Welland Rivers Trust and the Wildlife Trust BCN. The coalescence of several key partners around one vision is a major step towards the development of a secure future for Rockingham Forest, and all who live in and around it.
The project will develop a partnership of organisations, community groups and local people, especially engaging with the people of Corby and the small towns and villages through:
Promoting the beneficial effects of spending time in woodlands and greenspace on wellbeing.
Promoting volunteering opportunities for a range of ages, abilities, and interests.
Enabling traineeships for disadvantaged young people.
Reducing barriers to countryside education. (For example: by providing coach hire and training leaders)
Exploring options to extend the footpaths out of Corby e.g. along mineral railway tracks and building upon the Corby Heritage Highway.
Investigating how the habitats can support people’s livelihoods and, therefore, the sustainability of their management. (For example, through traditional crafts such as coppicing, forest products, charcoal making, and regenerative tourism which supports the local economy.)
Forming a network of existing groups (such as ‘Friends of’ and volunteer groups), and help set up new groups where appropriate, to allow the sharing of skills and resources.
Investigating, with landowners, longer term opportunities to reconnect fragmented woodlands and other habitats for public benefit. The existing Habitat Opportunity Map for Northamptonshire will help inform this work. It will also be a significant step towards building plans for nature recovery through changing agricultural policies and grants, quarry restoration, carbon capture and credits.
RNRP will coordinate the project, employ the Project Officer and Senior Project Officer to oversee the work. They will manage the website and social media, coordinate the programme of walks and courses, lead on Parish Nature Recovery Plans, manage the small project grants, and the evaluation contractor, as well as developing new funding opportunities and relations with landowners.
North Northamptonshire Council will expand volunteering opportunities through their Woodland Project. This includes ten courses, each for 20 volunteers, on topics such as setting up new ‘friends of’ groups and wildlife identification, and 30 places on accredited courses, such as First Aid and LANTRA Tree Survey and Inspection. A network of ‘friends of’ and similar groups will facilitate sharing of skills and resources. Eight teaching assistants will be trained as Forest Schools leaders, to engage children in Corby’s woodlands.
The Royal Forestry Society will provide sessions for children from Corby’s schools. Coach travel will be subsidised (free where needed) allowing schools in deprived areas to take part. An RFS-mentored trainee will be placed with NNC for one year. RFS will also provide woodland management training.
The Wildlife Trust will deliver sessions including walks and talks for those with little experience of wildlife, training, including wildlife surveying, and organise a ‘bioblitz’ wildlife recording day in Corby’s woodlands. WTBCN will support development of Parish Nature Recovery Plans, using the Northamptonshire Habitat Opportunity Map.
At their commercially coppiced woodland, Hazel Woodland Products will lead three walks and three training sessions, including coppicing and charcoal making.
Butterfly Conservation will lead two walks, two training sessions and three volunteer work parties for beginners. This work will complement their local Back from the Brink, and Green Recovery Challenge Fund work.
Natural England will support Parish Nature Recovery Plans, recruit and train new volunteers, and run events at National Nature Reserves (not normally accessible to the public). We will work with John Clare Countryside Vision with the parishes that cross our project boundaries.
Welland Rivers Trust will recruit and train 20 new volunteer River Wardens to monitor the condition and wildlife of watercourses in the project area.
Forestry England will support activities on their land and will provide hot-desk space at Fineshade Wood for the Project Officer.
A number of organisations expressed their support, and will assist with activities where they intersect with their areas of interest. These include Friends of Fineshade, Forestry Commission, Kings Cliffe Wildplaces, Northamptonshire Reptile and Amphibian Group, Northamptonshire Wildlife Recorders Group. Others are supporters, and have provided letters of support, for example Bulwick Estate, a major landowner in the area are currently investigating rewilding opportunities and are interested in working with us.
Rockingham Forest was a royal hunting forest established in Norman times. Pockets of rich habitat remain, but fragmentation of the original forest, through development, agriculture, commercial forestry and mineral extraction, have reduced and continue to impact adversely upon the forest’s value. Though not as well known to the public as Sherwood Forest or Ashdown Forest, it is potentially of equal or greater cultural, historic and biological value to society.
Rockingham Forest is home to some of the best ancient woodlands in England, which are suffering from fragmentation and species decline. There are rare and protected species of plants and animals, for example wild service trees, dormice, purple emperor and chequered skipper butterflies, nightingales and adders. There are magnificent ancient trees in the area, many of which are not mapped or recorded on the Ancient Tree Inventory. Good management for wildlife and people is present in some hotspots of sympathetic activity, but not in all areas. Nor is there any overall plan or vision, to which all landowners could subscribe and participate in.
Many of the woodlands and other habitats are not managed to their best potential. This project will promote the societal and economic value of woodlands and other habitats, in order to ensure that their management is sustainable in the long term.
Restoration of old, and continuing, mineral and landfill operations provide massive opportunities for habitat creation and making the links between the remaining areas of natural habitat. If these are not mapped and recognised in local planning processes, opportunities could be missed to ensure that quarries and landfills are restored appropriately to complement the existing habitats.
The lack of any overall management vision creates room for mismanagement, and for losses and missed opportunities. Using our developing partnerships, together with new links with landowners and the public, we believe that this project will provide the beginnings of a long-term achievable vision for the heritage of the area.
The increasing population of Corby and other local towns through ‘urban extensions’ will lead to increased visitor pressure on existing woodlands, but it also provides an opportunity to engage a wider range of people, and to promote sustainable recreation and tourism.
Issues of community level deprivation will be addressed. Corby is a priority area for NLHF investment owing to its levels of deprivation. Similar levels are also present in parts of nearby Kettering, Wellingborough, and Peterborough (where there are also higher levels of ethnic minority populations). Our programme will seek to address the lack of access to nature of such communities through targeting many of our programmes at Corby residents and those nearby.
There are no designated landscapes (National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) in this part of the midlands. Even when these landscapes are nearby, deprived communities struggle to access them. However, the Rockingham Forest provides opportunities to visit habitats of excellent quality in the vicinity of Corby and Peterborough. This project aims to reduce barriers and increase access, for example by providing subsidised/free coach travel for schools, and by promoting the forest to new audiences (lack of awareness or knowledge can be a barrier to access).
A coincidence of opportunities creates the perfect time to pursue a range of people and wildlife outcomes. Very recent changes to financial and legal support for biodiversity, forestry and agriculture are pushing landowners to look at land and management differently. Decisions on future management are about to be taken.
Rockingham Forest once reached from Stamford to Northampton. The area selected for the current project, due to the relatively high cover of surviving forest, sits between significant centres of growth in Corby and Peterborough, with many scattered rural communities in between. Decisions to be taken on land use and planning policy over the coming months by the recently created new unitary authority could significantly affect the project area, its heritage value and use. We are confident that this project, with the Unitary Authority as a key partner, will protect and enhance the landscape and its conservation and recreational value as these decisions are made.
Recent evidence of the lack of connectivity between people, especially children, and the countryside is compelling. The benefits to wellbeing of connection with the outdoors are well recognised and addressed in the project.
Now is the time to harness the new opportunities provided by recent changes to countryside support and the Environment Act, and through the recent formation of a new Unitary Authority. The time is also perfect to build upon some of the excellent work already carried out in towns and villages of the Rockingham Forest and their woodlands, to extend the approaches more widely across the new local authority area. The new authority is a key partner as it begins to develop a long term and planned approach to countryside, health and wellbeing. Through this programme, the authority plans to extend its Corby Woodland Project with wider community engagement and volunteer opportunities.
If RFV are unsuccessful in gaining further funding, the skills, capacity and networks, which will have been built within the community and partner organisations, will contribute to Rockingham Forest Vision’s aims in the long term, but at a smaller scale than if funding were available.
As a result of the project we will have started to build a wider community vision for Rockingham Forest and its nature recovery. Our steering group will have explored opportunities for funding an ambitious landscape partnership project involving many more landowners and community partners. Based on the emerging Local Nature Recovery Strategy our larger follow-on project will support landowners and community partners to develop linkages between areas of core biodiversity.