Derbyshire community support needed to share common interest at Whistlewood

With National Countryside Week in full swing (31 July – 6 August), people who want to safeguard the Derbyshire countryside are being invited to support a local community-owned woodland project in Melbourne.

Whistlewood Common, located between Melbourne and Ticknall, is a ten-acre plot of land that has been community-owned since 2013. The popular site, which attracts around 3,000 visitors each year, is designed along sustainable ‘permaculture principles’ to ensure it attracts wildlife and is a welcoming space for people of all ages.

Whistlewood has played a leading role in bringing together local communities that have a passion for nature, spending time outdoors and making the most of South Derbyshire’s countryside. The venue, which is free to use, also hosts events and workshops that help people to understand how communities can live more sustainably.

To ensure Whistlewood continues to flourish as a valuable community asset, the public are being invited to support an affordable community share initiative to raise enough money – before the end of August – to fund the build of a new community building on the site.

The Whistlewood management team are hoping the generosity of the local community will enable them to raise £60,000 worth of social investment that can be put towards the construction of a green-build straw bale roundhouse that will be built using local materials from within the National Forest.

The National Forest Company has pledged to support the project with a donation of £5,000 and Whistlewood has also gained the support of the Lottery-funded Community Shares Booster Programme that will match the value of every community share that is purchased, up to a maximum value of £80,000.

Sarah Spencer, Whistlewood Director, said: “We’re hugely proud of the community space we’ve created on the common and our visitors tell us it’s a valuable part of their lives. But we are keen to continue to upgrade our facilities and ensure the site meets the needs of the community.

“We’re hoping that local people who care about safeguarding Derbyshire’s countryside and are passionate about sustainable living will be compelled to double the power of their money and support this social investment initiative. This is a fantastic and remarkable project that the whole community will benefit from.”

The minimum community share investment is £50 while the maximum is £10,000. To find out more about how to pledge support, visit www.whistlewoodcommon.org or telephone 07930 470565.

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