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Traditional craft skills building bright futures

A social enterprise partnership to help people into employment is offering new woodland craft workshops open to all in the Forest of Dean.

The New Leaf project uses conservation, coppicing and green woodworking activities to provide work experience, build confidence and develop supportive social networks for people who face barriers to employment.

The New Leaf project was created by social enterprise and Community Interest Company (CIC) Arbour Training with the support of The Rewild Project, also a social enterprise and CIC. New Leaf is part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Foresters’ Forest Partnership Programme and is supported by the Forestry Commission in the Forest of Dean and Going the Extra Mile (GEM).

To help fund the New Leaf project and encourage a thriving craft community, Arbour Training is running new woodland craft workshops for the public. Workshops for spring/summer 2019 include bush craft, bowl carving and wood turning, and are open to anyone with an interest in learning traditional skills.  

New Leaf project leader Andy Cooper said: “The New Leaf project is at the very heart of what we are aiming to achieve at Arbour Training.

“The qualifications and experience that New Leaf offers means that young people and adults who are not in employment or training are in an excellent position to seek paid employment or self-employment.

“Our new Arbour Training Woodland Workshops are an exciting opportunity for anyone to learn craft skills, and will also benefit the New Leaf project. They are run in collaboration with The Rewild project, who are well established providers of green wood-working and traditional craft workshops.

“As well as taking part in our woodland workshops, people can also support New Leaf by volunteering to help the project. We are always interested in hearing from people who have some spare time, skills and experience in conservation, craft and woodland management, or those who have a love of the outdoors and enjoy helping others.”


Thanks to support from the Forestry Commission, the New Leaf project offers the rare opportunity for people to put skills into practice in coppice woodland, and to learn in the forest itself. Coppiced wood will be harvested for heritage crafts and training courses at the project’s new woodland base.

New Leaf is based at a refurbished old forest workers’ shed known as Kensley Shed. A team of New Leaf volunteers are completing a sustainable renovation of the Forestry Commission building, with locally sawn Western Red Cedar cladding, recycled polyester insulation and reclaimed windows.

The New Leaf team hope that Kensley Shed is becoming a community asset where traditional green wood craft skills can be learned and developed.

The New Leaf project has also kindly been supported by local tool and machinery dealer Mincost.

One day Woodland Workshops are being offered at a special introductory rate of £50. To book a Woodland Workshop visit

To volunteer with the New Leaf project please contact

To find out more about the Rewild Project visit

New Leaf is one of 38 projects in the Foresters’ Forest Heritage Lottery Funded programme. Find out more about Foresters’ Forest at