Chair’s Round Up – Winter 2023

Winter can be a quieter, more inward season but in terms of the FHT it has been a most active and productive time.  

We organised and put on a couple of gatherings at the Universal Hall – the Biodiversity Exhibition Event in November which gave an opportunity for trustee Alan Watson Featherstone to showcase and inspire us with his work exploring and photographing the incredible  diversity of life on the land we steward and the Woodland Orchestra Fundraising Event held on the 4th February which further allowed Alan to share his work but also gave the opportunity for artists such as Caroline Waldman, Henry Fosbrooke and a whole collection of community friends to entertain us with nature based music and song followed by great dance music offered by Mark and Karawane DJs.  Both were fun community building offerings with the latter raising funds for the heating system for our Shepherds Hut, the accommodation on wheels that George Paul and I are readying for young apprentices to learn land management skills from Kajedo Wanderer our Land Manager.

This is all a part of our succession and resilience strategy to make sure the FHT’s good work carries on into the next generations as managing woods, land and our responsibilities around our green burial site require us to think on a much longer timescale than a single human life.  Thanks goes to all that helped raise £810 on the night but especially to Tor Schei from the Ewe House community in Kinloss who donated a brand new wood stove which he delivered the next day for a voucher  allowing his community members a few nights in the finished hut in our woods.

The Woodland Shelter and Conservation Hub have also been centres for other activity.  We had another very successful Christmas Tree Event with the usual fire to gather around, mulled wine and nibbles and tree collecting from the land but this time we had Henry Fosbrooke up with his drums and Barbara Swetina with her accordion to further involve and entertain us. This year it raised over £1000 to go towards our work.  It  was followed in the Christmas holidays by the Conservation Hub becoming a fantastic Santa’s Grotto as part of a Christmas trail for children and families organised by the NFA – Santa felt right at home and it was a splendid and memorable sight to behold that I am sure will be repeated in years to come.

The Woodland Shelter also became the appropriate end of life ceremonial space for community member John Wragg’s funeral with the green burial team in action running this and then some weeks later successfully organising the further burial of community notable Katherina Brooke.  That brings the total number of burials on the site to 50.  It gives me a great sense of pride to have had the FHT develop and now so smoothly run this community resource that also financially contributes much to running the activities of the trust.

Elsewhere in our community we have started a new series of Sanctuary rebuild work parties to further help with the preparation of the site before building actually happens sometime around the end of March/ beginning of April.  FHT actively supports this work that contributes to the wider community as part of its building local community charitable purpose by allowing the use of its tools and expertise to help the process along. At present Pete Finch’s old office is being dismantled to make way for underground services and give the new building a little more space.  Do join us Tuesday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30pm.  These work parties are in addition to our usual monthly land based work parties the last Saturday of the month with an outline of the variety of things we get up to now available on a FHT Events Calendar on the website which also notes other FHT activities that we know will be happening this year – do put these dates in your diary.    

On the personnel side, we are very happy to welcome our new Treasurer David Hammond onto our trustees team which has allowed Christopher Raymont to step down from this role but still carry on as bookkeeper and trustee.  Vivienne Wylde is also exploring becoming a trustee but for the time being she is filling in as temporary Membership Secretary for Arun Patel who is away for an extended period this spring.  She has become part of our newly formed Membership Subgroup who are looking to extend our already 154 strong paid membership to 200 by the end of the year.  Membership is important as it shows a level of engagement and appreciation for our work and helps balance out the unpredictability of our income which is still 60% dependent on green burial activity.

Spring is now in the air and thoughts turn towards the FHT Apiary where eleven hives have so far survived the winter which saw some snow and cold weather and the plants in the Woodland Garden start their growth into the new season. Join us as regular work parties with the bees and plants start soon – Draeyk will be there  in the garden every Saturday from 9am and the Bee Team on Wednesdays from 2pm -4pm starting the 12th April meeting at the Conservation Hub   – phone 07825212816 for more information.

Jonathan Caddy

FHT Chair

11th February 2023 

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Findhorn Hinterland Trust, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC045806
228 Pineridge, Findhorn, Forres, Moray IV36 3TB