Evanton Wood Community Company held a very successful evening at the Cornerstone Café on Tuesday. Some 25 people heard company chair Adrian Clark outline future plans and describe the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to become the main funder of the bid to purchase the 64 hectare wood which bounds the village of Evanton. The application also includes a bid for funding for a 5-year programme of activities giving the community a range of different ways to engage with Evanton Wood.
EWCC will hear at the beginning of March if they have been shortlisted to proceed to the second stage of the Heritage Lottery Fund. This stage will require the preparation of a detailed five year plan of activities with major input from the community.
Members signed up to assist with this task and also with fund-raising events. Many volunteered to help with practical tasks, in particular removing the invasive western hemlock, as well as clearing ditches, measuring trees, helping with biological surveys, sorting firewood and making squirrel feeders and bat boxes. Many are keen to buy firewood, which promises to provide a significant stream of income. People responded generously by pledging and donating money to help with the purchase price of the wood.
Adrian Clark expressed the Board’s delight at the good turn-out and enthusiastic response to the request for volunteers. This reflects the expressions of interest already shown in several community surveys and by attendance at woodland events over the past year.
Janey Clarke, Board secretary, described the campaign to encourage local companies to contribute to the purchase fund. Further to initial expressions of interest, a booklet entitled ‘Why buy Evanton Wood for the Local Community’ is to be taken round the companies, several of whom operate internationally. Contributors, who will also have the opportunity to sponsor benches and tables, will be acknowledged on the proposed welcome panel at the entrance to Evanton Wood. The companies’ information pack includes special booklets of artwork by Primary 4/5 pupils at Kiltearn Primary School, featuring the animals that live in the wood.
Meanwhile the Board is delighted to have been awarded charitable status.