A new project is offering funding for communities to manage and own their local woods.
The new pilot launched by the Woodland Trust is an attempt to increase the tiny level of woodland currently in community ownership, building on the work of existing organisations in the region.
The Trust is offering start-up grants of £500 to new groups looking to form in the pilot region, with established groups looking to take on some form of woodland ownership being eligible to apply for a grant of up to £10,000.
The charity will also hold a number of training events to help communities build management and engagement skills and has launched a website which provides information and resources for anyone to find out how to set up a group to help manage or acquire an area of woodland.
One local group already looking after local woods is the Silverdale District Wood Bank, a community group carrying out woodland management and producing wood fuel to help people in fuel poverty.
Claire Harris, Chair of the Silverdale District Woodbank, said: “Members of the group not only get a free supply of firewood in exchange for their hard work; they also get many other benefits.
The pilot is being launched as the Woodland Trust and over 40 other organisations look to create The Charter for Trees, Woods and People. For more information about the pilot and the grants visit www.communitywoodland.org.