Get on (the) Board!

The Management Committee of the woodland has been busy during lockdown strengthening the CBS and thinking about the next steps for our future.

Most of you will be aware that we recently changed the name of the project to Laughton Greenwood following consultation with our membership and wider supporters. In the second half of this strange year we are looking to develop opportunities to access the woods, increase our profit-turning activities to support our sustainability, expand our membership and raise our public profile, including with new signage in the woods.

We want and need your help to achieve this! If you have ever thought about getting more involved in helping make Laughton Greenwood a valuable community resource and biodiversity success story, then now is the time! Please read on…

BRING YOUR SKILLS TO LAUGHTON GREENWOOD

We are actively recruiting for new members of the Laughton Greenwood Management Committee, as well as for our advisory board and other volunteers. 

As an active member of the Committee you will be involved in the fascinating detail of managing and developing Laughton Greenwood as an area of increasing biodiversity, a sustainable woodland-based business, and a valuable resource for the local and wider community. This film (currently featured at the Depot website) was made before our name change but really captures what we are trying to achieve.

We meet around once a month, in Lewes or Laughton or, where possible, in the woods. We have lots of ideas about where to take the project but we are looking for yours as well. Skills from woodland expertise, business management and fundraising to community engagement, project administration and beyond are all welcomed.

We have opportunities opening up for a new Chair and Secretary for the Committee, roles which offer the chance to really help drive the project into its next phase. We are also looking for people who can help us develop new roles on the Committee of Membership Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator.

What can you expect with the Role of Chairperson?

Chairing is a key role on our voluntary Management Committee.  The Chairperson helps ensure that the Management Committee functions properly, and that meetings are well-planned and effective. It is a leadership position, providing the opportunity to put your strategic thinking into action and steer the organisation as it continues to grow.

Other specific duties include working with the Treasurer on financial oversight and planning, thinking about recruitment and renewal of the Management Committee, liaising with paid staff, and ensuring good policies and procedures are in place for the effective management of the organisation.

The role of a Chairperson involves a regular time commitment, with capacity to do work between meetings and coordinate with staff and other committee members, and a willingness to represent Laughton Greenwood externally as a public ‘face’ of the organisation.

As Chair of Laughton Greenwood CBS you will have the chance to put your skills in strategic planning, good people management, delegation, networking and organisational development to good use, helping preserve the future of the woodlands as a biodiversity success and an important social asset.

What can you expect with the Role of Secretary?

The Secretary is crucial to the smooth running of Management Committee meetings, which is where all our important decisions get made. As a small organisation with only one paid member of staff at present, the Management Committee plays a strong role in decision-making and strategic development, and the role of Secretary offers the chance to help the Committee function at its best.

The Secretary coordinates with the chair to set agendas for meetings, notifies committee members and circulates information and papers. You help meetings themselves run smoothly by reporting on matters arising, making sure everyone has necessary information, and taking minutes if required. The Secretary has an important role in putting ideas into action by circulating minutes and following up on specific actions with individuals. You also play an outward role by being a point of correspondence for the organisation.

It is the ideal role for someone who is well-organised, punctual, responsive and has a strong eye and ear for detail. Given the importance of the Management Committee to the oversight of what is happening in the woodlands, the role of Secretary offers the chance to fundamentally support the project’s success.

Other Opportunities

As well as the Management Committee we are looking to revive our advisory board, a more informal circle of supporters with particular expertise we can draw on, and who may attend some Committee meetings as well as supporting at events and with raising our profile.

We also need anyone who may be able to offer some time as ad hoc volunteers in a range of areas – e.g. events, fundraising, public communications and developing our Membership.

If you would like to know more don’t hesitate to express your interest by writing to us at info@laughtongreenwood.co.uk. We are planning an induction for new Committee members in late August.

Please spread the word!

Introducing Laughton Greenwood, our new name

Community woodlands only work if they can draw on the broad range of support available to them. The community for our woods is located close to the woods themselves in local parishes, but also in the towns of Lewes and Hailsham, across Sussex and beyond. We are a small woodland, but like the individual trees we are connected to a much bigger network.

As the project’s moved forward we’ve realised we can be clearer about who we are and what our community woodland is all about. One aspect that we felt could be clearer was the name, and so in early 2020 we decided on a change from Vert Woods Community Woodland.

We wanted something memorable and easy to say, that helps people understand where the woods are and has the spirit of what we’re trying to do together. 

The first step was to go out to members to generate a list of ideas. More than thirty came back. The Management Committee whittled these down to a shortlist of three possible names, which then went back out to members to consider.

Laughton Greenwood was clearly the preferred option. Having ‘Laughton’ in the name will help to locate the woodland for more of those people who could be getting involved. ‘Greenwood’ helps to get across our mission to restore the woods to life and put nature at the heart of our decisions.

Greenwood also echoes the ‘Vert’ in the woods’ historical name. The human heritage of the woodland is important to us, just as the natural history is, and we’re going to make sure that ‘Vert Woods’ and ‘Upper Vert Wood’ (where most of the community woodland is located) are very much part of the story wherever we tell it. 

Over the course of the summer we will be changing the name wherever we need to. At first that means official documentation, this website and our social media channels (no need to do anything if you already follow these accounts).

Later on this will include the small amount of signage we have in the woodland itself, and in publicity. We hope it won’t be long before we can get everyone together and celebrate the change in the woods.

Meanwhile the Management Committee is busy putting together funding applications for further improvements to the woods, planning the summer’s harvest of timber and considering how we can make future events in the woods workable while keeping everyone safe and healthy in these strange new times.

We look forward to updating you all on progress. Keep in the loop by signing up to our email newsletter if you haven’t already.