Forestry Challenge Funds

Forestry Challenge Funds were administered by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) under the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).

The two Challenge funds were: Woods In and Around Towns, and Forestry for People.

Forestry Challenge Funds are now closed to new applications.

Woods In and Around Towns (WIAT) Challenge Fund

The WIAT Challenge Fund aimed to bring urban woodland into sustainable management and improve recreation facilities by carrying out an agreed programme of work.

The funding was targeted at woods within 1 km of settlements with a population of over 2000 people (the WIAT area). The aim was to regenerate the woodland environment close to centres of population, improving the quality of life for people living and working there.

The type of work that could be supported included:

  • development of woodland management plans
  • silvicultural work to improve woodland structure and condition
  • construction of new or improved recreation facilities including footpaths.

The WIAT Challenge Fund was a key mechanism for delivering FCS’s WIAT Programme. This programme of work in and around towns aims to:

  • create new woodland
  • bring neglected woodland into active management
  • work with people to help them use their local woodland.

Forestry for People (F4P) Challenge Fund

The Forestry for People Challenge Fund covered all Scotland, including the WIAT area. It supported local involvement in woodland projects for health, learning and strengthening communities.

Examples of this included:

  • setting up walking initiatives
  • developing natural play areas
  • delivering rehabilitation programmes in woodland
  • developing continuous professional development (CPD) programmes for teachers 
  • establishing volunteer groups
  • developing not-for-profit initiatives such as green exercise projects

Health and education proposals had to either align with Forestry Commission Scotland’s Woods for Health Strategy, the Woods for Learning Strategy, or tie into the work of local Forest Education Initiative groups (if relevant to the area).

Due to the over whelming demand for these challenge funds the last application cut off date was September 2011. The challenge funds were launched in 2009 and since then we have committed nearly £5 million pounds to 124 different projects from the very North of Scotland down to the south west of Scotland.

A lot of these projects were ongoing and will be drawing down funds in the remaining two years of this Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2012 and 2013. Our budget for these two years is now fully allocated.

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Application forms

You must submit a final project Evaluation Report which should be an overall summary of what has happened during the duration of the project, what has been achieved and the scale of improvement and change.

The report should set out the results of the indicator measurements before the project started and again when all work is complete.
It should also set out the full cost of the project including direct cash costs, volunteer input, in-kind contributions etc.

All beneficiaries must complete this form. For larger-scale projects (e.g. those projects with a contribution of greater than £50,000 from the WIAT Challenge Fund and greater than £10,000 from the F4P Challenge Fund) a more comprehensive report should be appended - that report to be restricted to 10 sides of A4.

• A template of the Evaluation Report form to be submitted.

Challenge Funds contribute to the delivery of the Scottish Government's National Purpose Targets and Strategic Objectives, the SRDP priority outcomes and Scottish Forestry Strategy outcomes.