Community Neighbourwood Scheme

Being part of a Community Neighbourwood Scheme may be the easiest choice of these six presented, if you do not own quarter of an acre or more land for woodland.

There are challenges getting a new Neighbourwood Scheme going. Joining and established Community Neighbourwood Scheme is much easier, of course.

A Neighbourwood does mean that it is a Community Woodland open to the public. So this may not seem to be the best choice for having a private personal Tree Sanctuary. But what a wonderful choice for creating or being part of a Shared Sanctuary.

This scheme still greatly assists reducing the local community's CO2 footprint. It is also a precious place to experience pride and personal satisfaction.

Getting land access to start a new Community Neighbourwood Scheme is a major challenge too, after discovering people interested in committing to the project.

This needs either private or public land donated, or land contracted to rental for at least 15 years. 25 years or more rental contract is more ideal.

The Application form, more like application book, to apply to get a Community Neighbourwood started in Ireland can initially seem very muddling.

I believe Taoiseach Enda Kenny's government introduced this scheme way back. At that time though it was a national scheme applications were done through the local county councils. When I saw the application it seemed impossible to wade through.

Meanwhile, there was a quickly established Raheens Neighbourwood opening up outside Castlebar, Enda's constituency.  Was this cheated and rushed through? Probably not.

To get this application done it needs Mentoring, and a business able to take on Mentoring Management to guide through the several steps to make a Community Neighbourwood happen.

I believe in the scheme's early days, the local County Council would accept and review the applications, and Coillte provided the woodland education and management.

In our area, counties Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim, and Donegal, its seems that most Community Neighbourwoods are handled by the excellent Western Forestry Co-op based in Sligo.

I use the Western Forestry Co-op here as an example because it is local to us. Contact me to search for an equivalent woodland management and support company near you that could help you establish the same.

Western Forestry Co-op assesses the land intended for the Community Neighbourwood. Their interest is in long term woodland management. Land with short term leases under 15 years will not be touched.

Western Forestry Co-op then help with the Neighbourwood application form filling. Their help and experience over-rides the complexities of this application.

Once an application is accepted and approved, Western Co-op become partners to your group or co-op, or charity that founded the Neighbourwood.

Western Forestry Co-op then mentor and guide the processes of funding and grant applications. Between 75% to 90% of a Neighbourwood set up cost could be funded and granted!

Western Forestry Co-op then take over management of the woodland. The Neighbourwood founding group can get involved in some volunteered forestry work directed by Western Forestry Co-op.

Most of the work of the Neighbourwood Founding Group will be managing the fun Community tasks. This could include community fundraising and hosting woodland events such as picnics, music, poetry, drama, art groups, nature walks, and wildlife and tree identity education.

Getting started with a Neighbourwood will need some start up funding.

It is best to do this through community fundraising events such as pop-up cafes and bake sales.

The main financial return from Neighbourwoods are from tree thinnings. I do not know what the profit breakdown is between Community Group and Forestry Co-op yet.

Community Neighbourwood groups will always continue to host community fundraisers, but they will never charge anyone entering their Public Neighbourwood.

click/tap here for how to create local Woodland interest  ...


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