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Forestry Commission celebrate success at Diversity and Equality Awards

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The Forestry Commission in the East Midlands have been celebrating after winning the Understanding and Engaging with Communities Award at the Civil Service Diversity and Equality Awards 2010.

The highly successful annual awards celebrate the best of the UK Civil Service. They are designed to highlight the importance of diversity and equality to the Civil Service through its people, its policies and its delivery.

The judges commended the Forestry Commission for their work in engaging with people from a variety of diverse groups and encouraging access to their local woodlands.  Particular highlights include:

• A work experience programmes offering young adults with autism the opportunity to work with rangers in the environmental sector;
• Providing interpreters for the Deaf community so that they can participate in wildlife surveys and conservation work;
• Intensive engagement within former-coalfield and deprived communities through consultation, events/educational programmes, involvement in woodland management, training opportunities and apprenticeships;
• Working with the Council of Faith to create a ‘Sacred Space’ for reflection as well as encouraging traditional ceremonies in woodlands, such as pagan handfasting ceremonies; and
• Work with the local LGBT community including lesbian outdoor groups, which has also resulted in members of the group joining the Forestry Commission as volunteers.

Jo Atkinson, Social Forestry Manager, who nominated the team in the East Midlands said:

“It is fantastic that the hard work, dedication and achievements of the team have been officially recognised.  We pride ourselves on serving the community and that means engaging with everyone who lives locally to any of our sites.  The fact that we can bring new visitors to woodland while also helping people to learn new skills, make new friends and grow in confidence is huge bonus for us.”

The team will now go forward to the Civil Service Awards with the winners to be announced at a reception in Buckingham Palace on the 11 November 2010.

Notes to Editor

Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For further information visit

For further information about the Civil Service Awards please go to

Media contact:
Jo Atkinson, 01623 822447,