Join Forestry Commission Scotland's Voluntary Community Champion Programme

Forestry Commission Scotland’s (FCS) Voluntary Community Champion (VCC) Programme is looking for new recruits to join its one year programme.

The voluntary programme is an initiative which trains people from minority groups to lead events and activities in woodlands and forests.

The programme aims to educate people from diverse backgrounds, providing knowledge and skills on how to access their local woodlands for the benefits of health, work and play. FCS is encouraging people come along and find out more about the programme by hosting a talk on Wednesday 22nd February in Edinburgh.

The Volunteer Champions help support Forestry Commission Scotland’s engagement programme in central Scotland in a variety of ways from talking to members of the community, to helping deliver events and woodland activities.

Delivered in partnership with CEMVO (Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations), the training initiative was set up to promote access to local woodlands no matter a person’s race, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, religion or beliefs.   

Last year’s recruit Zain Sehgal, who runs organisation Boots & Beards, won Volunteer Community Champion of the Year 2016, at the Ethnic Minority Impact Awards hosted by CEMVO.

Zain, a 29 year old entrepreneur from East Kilbride, set up Boots & Beards to encourage BME communities in and around Glasgow to get outdoors and enjoy Scotland’s woodlands and greenspaces through hillwalking and environmental educational activities.

Zain Sehgal, said:

“I chose to become a Volunteer Community Champion to gain the knowledge and skills required so I could cater for various age groups, educate people on the forests and woodlands whilst we walk and offer different activities that would suit everyone. 

“Boots and Beards uses hillwalking to bring people together, to get people out and about, increase fitness levels, de-stress, and improve overall wellbeing. I would encourage people who are interested in doing a bit more for their community to attend Forestry Commission Scotland’s talk and find out more about the role and what it can do for you.”

Romena Huq, Engagement Officer at Forestry Commission Scotland, said: 

“We’ve been running the Voluntary Community Champion programme for two years and had some great successes with local communities. We hope that more volunteers come forward again this year and join the programme so we can continue to work with local communities to ensure everyone is enjoying the woodlands.”  

FCS is hosting a talk for people to find out more information on Wednesday 22nd February at Summerhall Arts Centre, Edinburgh from 5:30 – 7pm. For more information on how to get involved please contact Sadia Ismail on 0300 067 6301 or 07785 456564.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6508 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.