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Westonbirt Arboretum grows community links

27 February 2015

The Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire has welcomed two new Community Officers to its team as part of a project to help more people to learn from, participate in and enjoy the arboretum’s trees and heritage.

The new roles have been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and aim to reach out to a broader range of audiences to take an active part in the heritage of the arboretum. The roles are funded for four years as part of the activities planned for the Westonbirt Project, which is currently underway to create a new Welcome Building and restore the arboretum’s valuable downs grassland.

Claire Goulding has joined the team as Community Inclusion Officer and will be working on the creation of multi-sensory activities that will aim to engage and inspire adults that are at risk of exclusion, whether that is due to age, health, disability or cultural background to find a connection with the trees at Westonbirt Arboretum.

Claire said:

“I am looking to build collaborative partnerships with organisations that work with vulnerable and older adults at risk of exclusion that will help to steer the development of new multi-sensory activities and trails at the arboretum.

“I will also be developing an outreach programme taking ‘Westonbirt on the Move’ to care and nursing homes for people who cannot attend due to health or mobility.”

Karen Price has taken on the role of Community Youth Officer, working to enable young people aged 13 – 26 to create a sense of ownership with the arboretum. Activities could include practical volunteering opportunities, working towards Scout and Guide badges, or simply just exploring, having fun and connecting with the outdoors.

Karen said:

“This is a great opportunity to engage with young people who may be at risk of exclusion for social, economic or cultural reasons, or because of a disability. Often young people are unlikely to discover Westonbirt for themselves.

“I am keen to connect with a range of groups who would like to get involved in youth activities at Westonbirt, or have any ideas for projects we could develop.”

Activities already planned include practical conservation and woodland management volunteering opportunities in Westonbirt’s ‘community coppice’, environmental art and a youth forum which will help inform the management of the arboretum.

Anyone wishing to contact Claire about her work with vulnerable and older adults should contact her on 0300 067 4852 or email

Those wishing to get involved with Karen’s work with young people should call 0300 067 4854 or email



Images attached: Claire Goulding and Karen Price, the Forestry Commission’s new Community Officers at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. Credit Gina Mills, Forestry Commission.

  1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to five national collections, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains nearly 15,000 labelled specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 27,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit
  2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Further information can be found at
  3. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985. The charity’s objects are to support the National Arboretum in promoting public understanding of the crucial role of trees to the environment and society. It is funded by membership receipts from over 28,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity (no. 293190). More information at  
  4. The Westonbirt Project will make a big difference to everybody who comes to the arboretum. The project will mean a better welcome, a better visit and a better understanding of the heritage and importance of this world class tree collection. More information can be found at
Last updated: 8th August 2016

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.