Forest of Mercia cic
Based at our beautiful Hilton Green site and working across Staffordshire and the Black country, Forest of Mercia CIC provide a wide variety of environmental themed community services.
"Encouraging everyone to use the natural environment to learn, feel better and be inspired!"
This involves the provision of outdoor learning, environmental training, volunteering opportunities, tree planting and healthy living projects with school / community groups, corporate groups and members of the public.
The main aims of the Forest of Mercia CIC are to:
Promote the use of the natural environment as a resource to encourage positive life choices.
Improve physical and mental health and well-being through using the natural environment.
Increase outdoor learning and employment opportunities.
The Forest of Mercia was set up as a government backed partnership project hosted by Staffordshire County Council.
It was one of several Community Forests that were established throughout England during the early 1990’s, as part of the largest environmental initiative in the country at the time. The aim was to provide well-wooded landscapes close to urban areas. A thirty year Forestry Plan was generated for each Forest to work to and the Forest of Mercia had a number of major successes.
Education Inclusion Project. – Young people excluded from school, or at risk of exclusion, were provided with an opportunity to use the natural environment to achieve vocational qualifications to help them be work-ready. This was a five-year project proved very effective for the young people involved.
The Forest of Mercia partnered with the charity – Community Forest North West, now Community Forest Trust, to provide support and additional funding opportunities.
Twiglets was set up – Over last 10 years many families have engaged with this environmental education project. Originally a stay and play group, many families returned regularly, getting a huge amount out of what the project offered.
Twiglets is now run with local school groups with funding from Children in Need.
Survive! – Approximately 1000 young people were involved with the Survive! project delivered in partnership with the National Memorial Arboretum between 2011 and 2013. Whilst outdoors the children learnt team building skills, helping to develop and build their self-confidence.
Forest of Mercia stopped being hosted by Staffordshire County Council.
A new chapter for Community Forestry in Staffordshire and the West Midlands with the establishment of the Forest of Mercia Community Interest Company (CIC)
Working closely with South Staffordshire District Council and the newly formed Hilton Partnership Board, Forest of Mercia CIC developed a new site – Hilton Green. The team worked hard to create an exciting community facility, with woodland, reed beds, fruit trees, polytunnels, beehives, a mud kitchen and outdoor classrooms. It became a new base for the team and a new hub for environmental education, in the broadest sense, for Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
FOM took over the local mental health project, Growell. This allowed us to work on a variety of woodland and heathland management projects, as well small-scale garden maintenance.
The group continue to volunteer at Hilton Green every Friday morning.