Forestry Commission Scotland champions unveiled to take engagement into central belt communities

THIRTEEN new faces have just been unveiled as community champions for Forestry Commission Scotland

They will push events, woodland activities and talk to members of the public as part of the Volunteer Community Champion programme.

It is run in partnership with the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector with a goal to help educate people from diverse backgrounds.

The main focus is on providing knowledge and skills on how to access their local woodlands for the benefits of health, work and play.

But they will also be given specialist training tand learn woodland skills from Forestry Commission Scotland rangers.

Romena Huq, engagement officer at Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “We are really proud of what the community champions have achieved over the past two years and we hope this year will be just as successful.

“They have engaged with their communities and brought the woodland to life. It’s great to see that some have discovered a new passion for the outdoors and can recognise the benefits of using their local woodland.”

Around 800  engagements were recorded in year one.

Heather Muchamore, a Volunteer Community Champion and Lifelong Learning Development Officer at the City of Edinburgh Council, said:  “Over time I hope to help strengthen people’s abilities, particularly women, to get more involved in learning and organising and to create more support for themselves and others.”

Colin Lee, Chief Executive of CEMVO, said: “The VCC initiative is about identifying groups and communities who do not consider woodlands as a place to visit and take part in community life.

“The new Champions are already getting out there and engaging with their communities, so I’d encourage people to get involved in any upcoming events taking place in their community.”

Want to learn more? Read: Details of the new local Community Champion are listed below:

Gilian Main – Forth Valley Recovery Community, Falkirk

Heather Muchmore – Lifelong Learning Worker, Edinburgh

Davis Bwalya – Score Scotland, Edinburgh

Nila Joshi – Positive Future Lunch Club, Edinburgh

Govinda Ram Kandel – Nepalese School, Edinburgh

Khalifa Thiam – Senegalese Society, Edinburgh

Modou Gaye – Afri Fest, Edinburgh

Ruby Bhopal – Sikh Women’s Walking Group, Glasgow

Sarra Wassu – Scottish Women Arab Women Association, Glasgow

Maariyah Afzal – YCSA, Glasgow

Sean Evans – Wise Green Wisdom, Glasgow

Omar Tufayl – Andalus, Glasgow

Mack McKechie – Gal Gael, Glasgow

Image Credit: Forestry Commission Scotland/Clark Communications

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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