News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Community Champions wanted

Want to train as a forestry volunteer but don’t know where to start? Our Voluntary Community Champion (VCC) Programme could be the place for you to take that first step.

The voluntary programme is a one year 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.

It has been running for two years now and has been very successful to help everyone enjoy the woodlands.

community champions

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 Scotland (Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations).

Zain, a 29 year old entrepreneur from East Kilbride, set up Boots & Beards to encourage BME communities in Glasgow to get outdoors 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 woodlands whilst we walk and offer different activities that would suit everyone."

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 Scotland, 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.   

To apply fill out this form or visit our Central Scotland engagement webpages.


The current VCC trainees are organising a joint woodland event to celebrate World Wildlife Day on Saturday 4 March at the National Trust Scotland Greenbank Gardens in Clarkston. The event will be volunteer led and is open to the wider community and will be a fun interactive day out in the woods for the whole family and young people.