Making Local Woods Work has recruited a team of researchers to evaluate various aspects of the project, including its impact on the woodland social enterprises it is working with. The research team will be looking at how woodland social enterprise workers have changed in terms of their confidence and capacity to take their businesses forward, along with investigating how effectively the project has delivered its support and events, and assessing the project’s impact in the wider forestry and social enterprise sectors.
The team of independent consultants is led by Dr Anna Lawrence. Anna is former Head of Social and Economic research at Forest Research (Forestry Commission) and is one of the leading experts in community approaches to woodlands and forestry in the UK. Alongside a commitment to participatory research, Anna and her team have a strong knowledge of policy in this area across the devolved forestry administrations.
The project team received a high number of proposals to undertake the research. The chosen proposal particularly stood out for the selection panel on account of the novel methods it will use, the expertise and value for money offered by the team, and its focus on participatory learning wherein the researchers will seek to help Making Local Woods Work participants understand their own impact. Furthermore, the overall research design offered an adaptiveness and flexibility particularly well suited to the nature of Making Local Woods Work as a pilot project aimed at testing varied approaches to support in this sector.