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Woodland Warrior

Funded: January 2023

Blue Light Card Foundation is funding a new classroom for their smallholding course, and weekend bushcraft courses for the Blue Light community

Sectors supported: Blue Light community

The Woodland Warrior programme CIC was founded in 2019 by husband-and-wife team Nick and Louise Goldsmith.  Nick is a former Royal Marine Commando and Louise is a former Detective Constable in Avon and Somerset Police.

Nick was medically discharged after 11 years’ service after being diagnosed with PTSD and it was a patch of overgrown and neglected woodland in Pensford, on the outskirts of Bath and Bristol that they bought, which really made a difference to Nick’s mental health and assisted with his recovery.

The struggle that Nick faced after leaving the Armed forces prompted him to provide activities within the woodland to aid the recovery of veterans, service personnel and Emergency Services.

The programme consists of:

Woodcraft activities - Provides an increased sense of accomplishment and achievement from learning a new skill, leading to increased self-esteem, resilience, self-worth, and confidence. Whittling provides a physical and mental challenge. It develops problem solving skills and increases focus, motivation, and concentration as well creativity and adaptability.

Traditional woodland management - Educational and offers new experiences, it involves physical exercise which results in increased health benefits, builds social skills and the ability to work with others as part of a team. Builds respect for nature and each other and increases sense of belonging. Deepens understanding of our rural countryside, increasing employability in this sector. 

Day to day running of camp and group cooking - Increases social skills and strengthening of social bonding. Increases co-operation and working as part of a team, leading to heightened self-esteem, motivation, confidence, and independence. Reduces isolation and improves relationships. Develops key life skills used in everyday life, which may lead to a reduction in family breakdown, homelessness, and an increase in employability.

Small holding course – Apple harvest, bee keeping, fruit and vegetable growing as well as animal husbandry.

Participants are welcome to return to the woodland to volunteer to utilise their newfound woodland management skills. In November 2019, for example, volunteers from previous WWP’s returned to assist with planting 420 new trees in the woodland.   

For more information and to book on to a course visit their website www.woodlandwarriorprogramme.org.