The core mission of the Deer Wood Trust is to promote sustainability in a fun and inclusive way. The Trust was set up to bring together people of all backgrounds, ensuring that regardless of your circumstances, there are opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills, and engage in conversations on sustainability. To achieve this the Trust runs two types of courses: Free courses targeted at vulnerable or disadvantaged groups who may not have access to natural spaces, and paid courses, which are available for anyone in the community and provide the Trust with a stable income stream, enabling the subsidisation of courses for disadvantaged groups.
The Deer Wood Trust’s courses offer hands-on experiences to learn about our natural world in a relaxed group setting, with activities ranging from sustainable cooking and foraging through to woodland horticulture, sustainable carpentry and outdoor therapy. Participants are encouraged to steer their activities, for example, the Trust’s ‘Earth Friendly Food’ course is designed so that key ingredients are foraged and food is co-prepared as attendees share responsibilities and collaborate on how the meal is put together. This helps to build relationships, increasing confidence and empowerment. In addition, all courses are built to improve people’s relationship with the environment and offer practical skills that can be used at home to reduce waste and save money.
As an outdoor venue, the Deer Wood Trust could only run courses in fair weather as they lacked suitable space to host groups on cold and rainy days. The Badur Foundation is supporting the Trust to build a new learning shelter, which will enable activities to be delivered for beneficiaries throughout the calendar year. This will also allow the Trust to collaborate with the increasing number of teachers, therapists and community leaders who want to use Deer Wood to hold similar events. This will increase the reach of the Deer Wood Trust and provide a reliable venue for sustainable learning, improving wellbeing, and supporting green careers.