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T213 shared assets woodland social-enterprise-in-england 2013

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T213 shared assets woodland social-enterprise-in-england 2013

  1. 1. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline December 2013 Kate Swade, Mark Simmonds, Karen Barker and Mark Walton Co-op Culture
  2. 2. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 2 Woodland Social Enterprise Baseline report Shared Assets & Co-op Culture for the Forestry Commission December 2013 Stage 1: England Table of Contents Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................... 3 1. Executive Summary .............................................................................................................. 4 1.1 Background and aims ....................................................................................................... 4 1.2 Methodology ...................................................................................................................... 4 1.3 Definitions ......................................................................................................................... 4 1.5 Key challenges .................................................................................................................. 6 1.6 The potential size of the sector ......................................................................................... 6 2. Background and Aims .......................................................................................................... 8 2.1 Objectives ......................................................................................................................... 8 3. Current Context, and Defining Social Enterprise ............................................................... 9 3.1 Context .............................................................................................................................. 9 3.2 Defining Social Enterprise ................................................................................................. 9 3.3 Woodland Social Enterprise and Social Forestry ............................................................ 10 3.4 Community Woodland Groups ........................................................................................ 11 4. Methodology and approach ................................................................................................ 12 4.1 Approach and survey design ........................................................................................... 12 4.2 Geographical Range of Responses ................................................................................ 14 4.3 Analysis ........................................................................................................................... 14 5. Survey Respondents ........................................................................................................... 15 5.1 Number Engaged in Woodlands ..................................................................................... 15 5.2 Social and Environmental Objectives .............................................................................. 16 5.3 Income Generation .......................................................................................................... 18 6. Woodland Social Enterprise Data Baseline: Basic Information ...................................... 20 6.1 Age .................................................................................................................................. 20 6.2 Staff Numbers ................................................................................................................. 21 6.3 Volunteers ....................................................................................................................... 21 7. Governance, Aims and Motivations ................................................................................... 23 7.1 Legal Structures .............................................................................................................. 23 7.2 Aims, Values and Motivations ......................................................................................... 25 7.3 Key Activities ................................................................................................................... 26 8. Woodlands ........................................................................................................................... 29 8.1 Area of Woodland ........................................................................................................... 29 8.2 Types of Woodland ......................................................................................................... 29 8.3 Woodland Tenure ............................................................................................................ 30 9. Finances ............................................................................................................................... 32 9.1 Turnover .......................................................................................................................... 32 9.2 Surplus ............................................................................................................................ 32
  3. 3. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 9.3 Turnover and surplus per hectare ................................................................................... 33 9.4 Start up costs .................................................................................................................. 35 9.5 Enterprise Tools .............................................................................................................. 37 9.6 Finance ........................................................................................................................... 40 10. Support needs and key challenges ................................................................................. 42 10.1 Retrospective support needs ........................................................................................ 42 10.2 Key challenges .............................................................................................................. 43 11. Aspiring Woodland Social Enterprises ........................................................................... 45 11.1 Proposed Activities ........................................................................................................ 45 11.2 Barriers Faced ............................................................................................................... 46 12. The Woodland Social Enterprise sector .......................................................................... 47 12.1 Defining the woodland social enterprise sector ............................................................. 47 12.2 The potential size of the sector ..................................................................................... 48 12.3 Feedback from landowners ........................................................................................... 48 12.4 Feedback from support organisations and funders ....................................................... 49 12.5 The role of leadership and entrepreneurs ..................................................................... 49 12.6 The potential size of the sector: in conclusion .............................................................. 50 13. Potential indicators to demonstrate change within the sector ..................................... 52 13.1 Indicators ....................................................................................................................... 52 13.2 Collection methods ........................................................................................................ 54 14. Conclusion ......................................................................................................................... 55 3 Acknowledgements Thank you to all who helped with the design and dissemination of the survey, and provided valuable reflections on the results: • The Woodland Social Enterprise Network Management Group: Jennifer Smith and Mike Perry from Plunkett Foundation, Hugh Rolo from Locality, Nigel Lowthrop from Hill Holt Wood, Philippa Borrill from Woodland Trust, David Dixon from National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; • Matt Taylor, Blackbark, Richard Snow and Andy Woodcock who all tested the survey for us; • Small Woods Association, Grown in Britain, the Tree Council, Social Enterprise UK, and all other organisations that helped us disseminate the survey; • All members of the Woodland Social Enterprise Network who attended the meeting on the 3rd December 2013; • Bianca Ambrose-­‐Oji at Forest Research, and Jane Hull and Sheila Ward at the Forestry Commission; • Melanie Konrad for her help in proofing and layout of this report; and • Everyone who took the time to complete the survey and participated in interviews.
  4. 4. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 4 1. Executive Summary 1.1 Background and aims This research was commissioned by the Forestry Commission to better understand the current woodland social enterprise sector in England: how many exist, what they are doing, what potential there is for the sector to grow, and what indicators could be used to measure any growth within the sector. It was undertaken by Shared Assets from October to December 2013, and will be followed up by a similar piece of work in Scotland and Wales in January – March 2014. 1.2 Methodology A mixed methodology approach was taken, with the key data source being an online questionnaire for woodland social enterprises, with a less detailed version for aspiring enterprises. This is the source of the quantitative data in this report. This was supplemented with semi-­‐structured telephone interviews with ten questionnaire respondents, and eight representatives of funders, landowners and support organisations. 1.3 Definitions This research has used a relatively open definition of a woodland social enterprise as: • Being woodland based, or operating in a woodland setting; • Having primarily social or environmental objectives, so not being primarily for private profit; • Earning income through trade of some sort – not totally reliant on grants or donations. There is debate around the precise definition of a social enterprise, and this is explored in relation to woodland social enterprise below. This is a fast growing sector with substantial contemporary innovation on the ground. This report recommends keeping a relatively open definition of what constitutes a woodland social enterprise. The suggested indicators in Section 13.1 show how change at a local level could be captured. What is clear from the data here is that woodland social enterprise is not a homogeneous sector: organisations within it vary in size, scale, activities, governance and business models. What unites them is an enterprising approach to engaging in woodlands, a social or environmental motivation and a reinvestment of any profits into their objectives or their community. 1.4 Key findings Sections 6 – 9 outline the key findings of this research. 104 unique responses were received to the questionnaire. 60 of these met the three criteria outlined above, and completed the full questionnaire. This research therefore indicates that there are at least 60 woodland social enterprises in England; their data constitutes the baseline for this report.
  5. 5. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 A clear majority of these organisations (41, or 68%) have been formed since 2010. This seems to indicate substantial current growth, and this may be expected to continue. Most of these organisations are small, with 48, or 80%, having fewer than five staff. A third (22 or 36%) reported an annual turnover of less than £10,000, although 11, or 18% had a turnover of more than £100,000. Almost half (27, or 45%) reported either breaking even or making a loss. High levels of volunteer involvement are common. A hallmark of woodland social enterprise appears to be a wide range of activities, inspired by multiple aims and objectives. Improving biodiversity, developing productive woodlands, and education and skills development were the three key values for the majority of respondents. The top five main activities undertaken were woodland management for biodiversity and for conservation, education services such as forest schools, coppicing, and skills development and training. A wide variety of health and environmental activities are also undertaken, as well as the creation of small woodland products. The telephone interviews revealed that motivations for starting woodland social enterprises are often complex, with some focusing on the need to bring woodlands into management or a desire create sustainable woodland-­‐based lifestyles. Others had seen a business opportunity or a need in the community. Some had moved in to try and save an asset that had been seen as under threat. A wide variety of legal structures are in use, but the majority of respondents are not registered charities. Charitable status restricts trading activity1, which can limit the flexibility of social enterprises. Respondents were asked how much woodland they “engage” with, or are active in. The respondents to this survey engage with a total of 6980ha of woodland, and manage2624ha. This is mainly made up of a large number of smaller areas of woodland, with the median amount under management being 11ha. Many organisations have complex legal relationships with the woodlands they engage with, and often engage across more than one site, with more than one type of arrangement in place. Almost a third (17, or 28%) own the freehold of at least one of the woodlands. More, though, (24 or 40%) reported having informal agreements with a woodland owner, and 21 or 35% had a management agreement. Outright ownership is not always sought (indeed it is often not desired), but a lack of security of tenure was raised by interviewees as a concern for the sustainability of enterprises, particularly where investment is required in advance of any financial return. 5 1 Charities can only trade in the course of carrying out their charitable purposes.
  6. 6. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 1.5 Key challenges Money -­‐ or lack of it -­‐ came up repeatedly as a concern. The small financial scale is particularly acute for the worker co-­‐operatives and others trying to develop sustainable livelihoods. This is often compounded by the lack of security of tenure noted above: there is no guarantee that enterprises will be able to recoup the investment in time, energy and money they are putting into a site. The levels of traded income as opposed to grant are generally low, which may in part be due to the newness of some of these organisations. There are some examples here, however, of organisations with substantial turnovers carrying out woodland social enterprise activities. If social enterprise is to play a significant role in woodland management in England, it will be important to support the newer organisations to grow, increase trading, and become sustainable. Other key challenges or areas where support was needed included navigating the planning system, tax advice and advice on the organisation's capacity. A desire for peer support was expressed by a number of survey respondents and interviewees. It may be that the Woodland Social Enterprise Network can help facilitate this. 1.6 The potential size of the sector There is debate over the details of what constitutes a social enterprise, but broad agreement on the key defining features: not for private profit, reinvestment of surplus, trading activity and primarily social or environmental objectives. Woodland social enterprise encompasses a spectrum of models, from worker co-­‐operatives, to small businesses with social aims, to enterprising community woodland groups and charities using woodlands to meet their wider aims. The high proportion of enterprises that have started up in the past three years shows that this is an area that is developing rapidly. This report suggests that it is sensible to keep the definition of woodland social enterprise relatively open at this point in time, and that it is more useful to consider social enterprise in this context as an approach, rather than as an organisational type or form. Organisations may take a social enterprise approach to woodland management and other activities, but not call themselves "social enterprises" -­‐ or may define themselves as such for some audiences and not others. If woodland social enterprise moves up the political agenda it may become more useful for some organisations to adopt the term. Recent changes in legislation around social investment may also influence how organisations define themselves. When discussing the potential size of the sector, a key issue is what is meant by "size". If the policy objective is that woodland social enterprise is a way of adding value to traditional private and public sector forestry, and therefore remaining relatively small, it is likely that the number of small groups and enterprises will continue to increase, but remain at a small scale. 6
  7. 7. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 If, however, the objective is that social enterprise is supported as a new way of doing forestry, and that there should be growth in the amount of woodland under social enterprise management, a different approach may be needed. Relying on the proliferation of small organisations engaging in relatively small areas of land is unlikely to bring about this type of more systemic change. Landowners will need to take a more proactive approach in supporting these enterprises. 1.7 Potential indicators This is a fast changing and developing area. The risk of deciding on specific indicators to monitor and measure is that "you get what you look for"; growth, change and innovation may be happening locally but not captured by indicators. It will be important to revisit this data, though; this is a snapshot at one point in time and will certainly change and develop. We suggest below some potential indicators and different ways of collecting them. In summary, it would be useful to continue to capture information on: 1. Number of enterprises that meet the three broad criteria for woodland social enterprise; 2. Number of full time equivalent staff, and volunteer hours; 3. Diversity of activities and impact; 4. Woodlands engaged with, and managed, in ha; 5. Security of tenure / legal relationship with woodlands; 6. Turnover and surplus2, both absolute and per hectare; and 7. Use of surplus. We have suggested different levels of information that could be collected with different amounts of resources and three different but not mutually exclusive ways of collecting and analysing this data. Given the developing nature of the sector, it would be useful to revisit this data in around two years’ time, if resources allow. 7 2 The balance at the end of the year, after costs have been taken into account.
  8. 8. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 2. Background and Aims Shared Assets was commissioned by the Forestry Commission in September 2013 to capture information on the number and type of woodland based social enterprises operating in the UK. There are two stages to this work: Stage 1 involved developing a methodology and then testing that across England. Stage 2 will run from January – March 2014 and will utilise the methodology across Scotland and Wales. This report concludes Stage 1. 2.1 Objectives The objectives of Stage 1 of this work, as described by the Forestry Commission, are: 8 1. Development of methodology to capture information on number and type of woodland based social enterprises. 2. Testing of methodology across England to answer the following questions: • How many woodland based social enterprises are currently operating in England? • What area of woodland do they engage with (manage / utilise)? • What type of activity are they undertaking (i.e. woodland management, health / education services, recreation, renewable energy)? • What type of enterprise tools are they using (i.e. community share offers, trading)? • What is the potential size of the sector (is there evidence of demand/potential/intention for the development of new social enterprises)? • What are the most appropriate indicators for demonstrating change within the sector that would be useful to a range of stakeholders? The two key outputs at this stage are a database of woodland social enterprises, and this report. This report summarises the data, discusses definitions, the future of the woodland social enterprise sector, and suggests indicators to demonstrate any future changes in the baseline data.
  9. 9. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 9 3. Current Context, and Defining Social Enterprise 3.1 Context The Governments in England, Scotland and Wales have an interest in the role that social enterprises can play in delivering public services. This report has been commissioned by Forestry Commission England to develop evidence on the number and type of woodland based social enterprises operating in the UK. The Government’s 2013 Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement3 stated there was a “growing potential for social enterprise to support community involvement in local woodland management”. The policy statement referred to England’s woodlands only. The UK Forestry Standard4 sets out the approach of the UK governments to sustainable forest management. This includes the Forests and People5 guidelines, which state that woodland owners and managers should: • Consider the potential for developing sustainable woodland-­‐based businesses and livelihoods and how this might be explored with interested parties and through local co-­‐operation; • Consider permitting the use of forests for sustainable low-­‐key community uses, especially where such uses are linked to cultural activities or are established by tradition; • Consider permitting or promoting the use of forests for education and learning activities of all kinds. The development of the Woodland Social Enterprise Network during 2013 and its proposed pilot project to support woodland social enterprise is another indicator of the interest in this area6. The Network may be able to increase understanding of the business models in use in the sector, informed by the results of work such as this. This report aims to provide evidence of the state of current social enterprise activity in woodlands in order to inform the development of policy and support for woodland social enterprises. Below we discuss some of the issues around defining social enterprise in general, and recent work on woodland social enterprise. Section 12.1 moves on to discuss the definition of woodland social enterprise in the context of the data in this report. 3.2 Defining Social Enterprise We initially defined woodland social enterprises as organisations that are woodland based, with social or environmental objectives and some trading income from selling goods or services. 3 Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-­‐forestry-­‐policy-­‐statement 4 Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/ukfs 5 Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-­‐8bvgl5 6 See: http://fieryspirits.com/group/woodlands-­‐and-­‐forestry
  10. 10. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 There is no legal form that defines social enterprise; it is better thought of as an approach to doing business rather than being tied to a particular legal or governance structure. Charities, co-­‐operatives and limited companies can all be social enterprises. According to Social Enterprise UK7, social enterprises should: 10 • Have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents • Generate the majority of their income through trade • Reinvest the majority of their profits • Be autonomous of the state • Be majority controlled in the interests of the social mission • Be accountable and transparent Stewart (2011) recognises that while there is a broadly accepted definition of social enterprise as being businesses that operate with primarily social or environmental objectives, the “details underlying what exactly constitutes a social enterprise are highly contested”8. 3.3 Woodland Social Enterprise and Social Forestry The report of the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB)’s Social Forestry Pilot Project9 usefully discusses the relationship between social forestry and woodland social enterprise. It defines “social forestry” as, in broad terms “an approach that involves engaging communities with the ownership or management of woodlands, and the production, distribution and sale of woodland related products and services.” Social enterprises are seen as one way of delivering social forestry. Social enterprise is not the only way of delivering social forestry, though – and social enterprises can engage in conventional forestry activities. The report goes on to say that social enterprise can be seen as either a particular type of organisation, or as an activity. In either case there is business activity, which generates income to further a social or environmental aim. The report places social enterprise in the “grey area” between charities, striving for maximum public benefit, and private companies, striving for maximum private benefit. Forest Research10 has developed a matrix exploring a spectrum from traditional woodland enterprise to community woodland groups, with social and community enterprises sitting in the middle. 7 See: http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/about/about-­‐social-­‐enterprise#what%20are%20ses 8 Stewart, A (2011) “Woodland related social enterprise – Enabling factors and barriers to success”. Forest Research. Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/INFD-­‐84JD86 9 Crabtree, T (2013) “Social Forestry Pilot Project Final Report: Supporting woodland economies in AONBs” The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Available at: http://fieryspirits.com/group/woodlands-­‐and-­‐forestry/forum/topics/social-­‐forestry-­‐pilot 10 Ambrose-­‐Oji, B, et al., (2014), paper in review with Forest Policy and Economics.
  11. 11. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 11 Within this framework, the main thing that distinguishes a “social” from a “community” enterprise is that community enterprises are community owned and that staff are more likely to be drawn from the local community. The framework describes features that both social and community enterprises are likely to have: • 50% or more of income generated through the sale of goods and services; • The potential to reduce staff costs through volunteering; • A business plan in place; • Less than 40% grant income or subsidy; • 50-­‐65% of profits spent on achieving social and environmental objectives; and • Assets held in trust. Section 12 below develops the discussion around definitions in the light of the data in this report. 3.4 Community Woodland Groups It is useful to compare the information in this report with the available information on community woodland groups. In 2010, there were 317 community woodland groups in England11 and there is a similar variety of approaches found within the community woodland sector as in the newer social enterprise sector. Tidey and Pollard (2010) define community woodland groups as: “a community-­‐led group which takes an active role in the management of a woodland which it might own or lease, or work in with the owner‘s permission”12. There is some crossover – some of the respondents to this survey could be considered community woodland groups – and no clear and absolute distinction between the two. The main features that could be seen to distinguish a community woodland group from a woodland social enterprise are often, but not always, the lack of a substantial "trading" element, and a more preservationist or conservationist approach to woodland management: the woodlands are less likely to be seen as productive resource. In an earlier report on community woodland groups, Pollard and Tidey (2009)13 comment, “very few of [the community woodland groups] utilise the produce from the woodland, preferring to protect the land for environmental, biodiversity and public amenity value.” There is also a focus on community and the local area, which may not be present with social enterprises. Lawrence and Ambrose-­‐Oji (2013) have developed a framework for the collection of information on community woodland groups14 that has been useful in informing the design of this survey and the interviews, and the proposed indicators at the end of this report. 11 Tidey, P & Pollard, A (2010) Characterising Community Woodlands in England and Exploring Support Needs, Small Woods Association for Forest Research. Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/INFD-­‐7TSD7E 12 ibid. 13 Pollard, A & Tidey, P, (2009) Community Woodlands in England Baseline Report, Small Woods Association for Forest Research, available at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/INFD-­‐7TSD7E 14 Lawrence, A & Ambrose-­‐Oji, B (2013), A framework for sharing experiences of community woodland groups, Forest Research, Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/PDF/FCRN015.pdf/$FILE/FCRN015.pdf
  12. 12. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 12 4. Methodology and approach Shared Assets took a mixed methodology approach to this research. The key data source is an online questionnaire, which was open for six weeks from 10 October 2013 to 19 November 2013. This was supplemented with ten semi-­‐structured telephone interviews with survey respondents and eight with representatives of funders, support organisations and landowners. Each interview was between 40 minutes and an hour long. We worked with Mark Simmonds of Co-­‐op Culture to deliver the phone interviews with survey respondents. Interviewees were selected to give a mix of organisational and business types, as well as a geographical spread. The survey was described as a “woodland social enterprise survey”, and asked people to respond if they were involved in social or environmental activities in woodlands, whether or not they considered themselves to be social enterprises. In order to get a picture of both the current size of the sector and its potential development, there were two routes within the questionnaire: A. for existing social enterprises, asking about their aims and objectives, current activities, finances, woodlands engaged with, support needs and feelings about the future; B. a less detailed survey for “aspiring” social enterprises, asking about their plans, proposed activities and what barriers they face 104 individual responses were received to the survey15. A link to the survey was sent to known existing woodland social enterprises and community groups; it was distributed through the Woodland Social Enterprise Network and advertised through email lists, websites and on Twitter. 4.1 Approach and survey design In order to maximise the amount of data collected, a tight definition of social enterprise was not drawn at this stage. Organisations were filtered into the full survey (Route A), if they met three criteria: 1. being partly, mainly or entirely “woodland based”; 2. with primarily social or environmental objectives16; and 3. with at least some trading income – i.e. not totally reliant on grants or donations. Those who indicated that they aspired to meet any of these criteria were directed down Route B of the survey. If they indicated that they did not meet these criteria, 15 Nine responses were discarded; some because they had no data to analyse, some were from Scotland & Wales so will be included in the next round of analysis. Two responses were duplicates from the same organization; the earlier response was discarded. 16 A note was added to the survey to make it clear that this did not preclude the need to generate income, but did preclude operating for entirely private profit.
  13. 13. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 and did not aspire to, they were routed out of the survey altogether (although they had the option to go back and change their choices). 45 responses were received from 240 groups17 that were already known to the researchers and who were sent the survey directly. 59 of the responses were not directly solicited by us. The diagram below shows the routing process. A total of 60 respondents met the three criteria outlined above and went through to the full “Route A” survey; their data forms the substantive analysis reported below. All together 19 respondents (indicated by the yellow arrows) stated that they were aspiring social enterprises; their data has been used to inform comment on the potential future growth of the sector, but has not been included in the main analysis. The remaining 24 respondents (indicated by red arrows) either did not meet, or did not aspire to meet, the three basic criteria, and were routed out of the survey (they were given the chance to go back and change their responses if they had misunderstood). Fig. 1. Survey Design 13 Not every respondent answered every question. We discarded those responses where there was not enough information to be useful, but where organisations started filling in the survey but for some reason did not finish, we have kept their data in the analysis. We indicate the total number of responses for each question 17 Mailing lists were compiled from existing databases (particularly the Woodland Social Enterprise Network) and previous research, particularly on Community Woodlands (Small Woods Association, 2009) and Community Management of Local Authority Woodlands, (Shared Assets, 2013) as well as groups known to the researchers. 155 emails were sent to community woodland groups, and 85 to other social organisations and enterprises with an interest in this area.
  14. 14. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 below. This survey is unlikely to be a complete reflection of the entire sector. The original brief estimated 30-­‐50 enterprises in England; this report is based on 60. 4.2 Geographical Range of Responses The survey received responses from every English region, but there was a markedly larger number of responses from the South East and South West. Figure 2 illustrates this. Fig."2."Which"region"of"England"is"your"organisa<on"based"in?" 2" 12" South"West" South"East" Yorkshire"and"the"Humber" North"West" East"Midlands" East"of"England" North"East" West"Midlands" Na-onal" 50 responses – almost half – were received from organisations based in the South East or South West. We cannot tell from this data whether this is because there are more woodland social enterprises (or organisations that would identify as such) in the South, or whether the survey reached more southern organisations. All but one of the northern based organisations the team was previously aware of responded to the survey. There was no marked bias in the distribution lists, but not all were geographically specific. Future research may benefit from analysing the geographical spread of contact lists before beginning any surveying. Variations in land ownership patterns and forest size between the North and the South may also account for some of the discrepancies: there are more smaller pockets of woodland in the South and therefore there may be more opportunities for social enterprises. One of the northern interviewees commented that northern local authorities did not seem to have a good understanding of enterprise in general – this may affect how organisations describe themselves. As more people become aware of social enterprise, more organisations may describe themselves as such. 4.3 Analysis There was no manipulation or coding of the data; the information here is straight counts and percentages. The interview data was analysed thematically. 14 2" 5" 6" 7" 8" 12" 24" 26" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" London" 104"respondents"
  15. 15. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 5. Survey Respondents Before any of the filtering questions were asked, respondents to the survey were asked whether they considered themselves to be woodland social enterprises. As Figure 3 shows, 44 of 104 respondents said that they did. However, 60 answered the initial filtering questions saying that they were woodland based, with social or environmental objectives and a trading income. The telephone interviews probed some of those who had answered “no”. Their responses varied from not finding “social enterprise” a useful term to being unsure whether being part of the wider woodland economy counted as being a “woodland” enterprise. Others assumed that an element of community control needed to be in place. 15 Fig.%3.%Do%you%consider%your%organisa2on%to%be%a% woodland%social%enterprise?%% Yes,%44,%42%% 104%responses% No% answer,% 11,%11%% Aspiring,%15,% 15%% Don't%know,%16,% No%,%18,%17%% 15%% 5.1 Number Engaged in Woodlands As described above, three filtering questions were asked to establish whether to route the respondent down Route A of the survey, for existing enterprises, or Route B, for aspiring enterprises. The majority of the respondents were engaged in woodlands in some form. Only four were aspiring to be, and these four were filtered to Route B.
  16. 16. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 16 Fig.%4.%How%woodland%based%is%your%organisa4on?% 102(responses;(2(did(not(answer%% Aspiring,(4,(4%( En#rely()(many( sites,(13,(13%( En#rely()(one(site,( 28,(27%( Partly,(25,(25%( Mainly,(32,(31%( Comments showed the variety of levels of engagement with woodlands: • We manage a 50 acre site of which about 15 acres is woodland, remainder wetland, heath, scrub or grassland • We see forests, and non-­‐woodland trees as the forefront in trying to engage the wider, whole population in coming to grips with their landscapes and the management of the elements within their landscape. • Part of our business is treework (the rest being woodfuels and sawn timber). Of the treework, the part based in woodlands is less than half the whole. • I work in a number of coppices all year round. • We are part of a chain of Holiday Parks although we are based on [one site] where we deliver the services provided • We run our forest school from a privately owned woodland • We work on a range of woodland sites, many of which are open habitats, farmland and orchards … but are increasingly concentrating on woodland management 5.2 Social and Environmental Objectives Respondents that were not filtered out were then asked about their social and environmental objectives.
  17. 17. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 Fig.%5.%Does%your%organisa0on%exist%for%primarily%social% and%/%or%environmental%reasons?% % % % %% % % % %% %97%responses% Not%at%the% moment,%3,%3%% Yes,%89,%92%% No,%5,%5%% Following feedback from some respondents, a note was added to this question during the survey, which read: All organisations need to cover their costs and most will aim to make a surplus, or profit. Social enterprises use that profit for social and environmental purposes rather than private benefit. Social purposes include but are not limited to health, education, training, community development, job creation, woodland creation and conservation. Environmental purposes include but are not limited to woodland creation, conserving existing habitats, improving biodiversity, and tackling climate change. The three that answered “not at the moment, but we aspire to have more social or environmental impact in the future” were filtered down Route B. Those who answered “no” were filtered out of the survey. Some of those who answered “yes” added comments that showed that economic considerations were equally as important when thinking about woodland management, for example: • Yes, 17 though financial stability is a core objective and our forest is managed on a properly sustainable platform where economic sustainability holds as much importance as social or environmental sustainability. • And economic, aiming to provide employment and lead on regeneration. Comments received elsewhere in the survey and informally while the research was ongoing revealed that some people strongly disagree with the traditional “social enterprise” focus on social and environmental objectives.
  18. 18. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 For example, one of the final comments read: Inevitably it is a broad church but my concern is that in separating ‘social’ from commercial forestry, … initiatives … will be seen as conservationists playing at the fringes of woodland management, rather than a serious prospect. Some exist for consciously political reasons: We have 4 core objectives: social, economic, biodiversity and climate change. For us climate change is not an environmental issue but a political economy issue – you may also want to unpack that in your analysis. A number of those who answered “no” identified as sole traders or similar, often stressing that they operated within a wider social economy, and were involved in training volunteers and supporting social enterprises. The plurality of responses to the term ‘social enterprise’ indicates that it remains a contested term among practitioners, as well policy makers and academics. 5.3 Income Generation The remaining 89 respondents were asked if their organisation generated any income through trading; i.e. through delivering products and services, rather than relying entirely on donations or grants. 18 Fig.%6.%Does%your%organisa0on%generate%any% income%through%trading?% 89%responses% Yes,%60,%67%% Not%yet,%12,% 14%% No%,%17,%19%% 60 respondents said that they did, and were routed through to the full survey.
  19. 19. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 The comments showed varying scales of income generation, and that trading makes a variable contribution to overall turnover: 19 • We make charcoal from felled invasive species, mainly rhododendron and sell it at farm shops and camp sites. • We are funded mainly (70%) through ticket sales for our events. • Through our woodland courses, forest schools and woodland management courses to secondary schools, coppice products and holiday woodland activities and all monies generated goes back into the woodlands. • We don't generally receive any grants – we don't have capacity to apply for them. We generate about £1000 p.a. from firewood sales locally. This pays for our woodland management activities. We have held a Festival (twice), which also generated about £750 each time. • We are a Community Interest Company (CIC) and we trade our service as woodland managers – practical and advisory services as our main source of income. However we still will aim to raise funds through other means such as grants. • Most of our income is through subscriptions, but some comes from payments by developers for doing jobs they should have done, to speed things up – removing barbed wire, making noticeboards etc. • We run woodland based events, mainly for children at which we make small charges which usually results in some funds but not sufficient to allow us to do all the work we do • We recycle lost golf balls. This wide variety of activities is typical of organisations in this field and is explored further below. Those who indicated that they did not trade mainly referred to donations and grants as their main form of income. 12 respondents indicated they were aspiring to trade, and were routed to Route B of the survey.
  20. 20. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 20 6. Woodland Social Enterprise Data Baseline: Basic Information 60 organisations answered “yes” to the three filtering questions that established they were: • woodland based; • with social and environmental objectives; and • earning at least some income through trading. Whilst we acknowledge there are on-­‐going definitional issues regarding what constitutes a social enterprise, we are taking this 60 as the baseline of woodland social enterprises. This section of the report explores the variety of scales, activities and organisational forms used. It addresses the points in the brief in turn, i.e.: • Number of woodland based social enterprises currently operating in England • Area of woodland that they engage with (manage / utilise) • Type of activity undertaken • Type of enterprise tools in use 6.1 Age The clear majority of these organisations are relatively young, with 41, or 68% indicating that they had been formed since 2010. Fig.%7.%When%was%your%organisa2on%formed?% 1" 2" 60"respondents" 5" 11" 26" 15" 30" 25" 20" 15" 10" 5" 0" Before"1979" 1980"to"89" 1990"to"99" 2000"to"09" 2010"to"2012" in"2013" Some of the comments indicated that projects or groups had gone through various stages of development before formalising, but there is a clear recent uplift in interest and activity in this area. From the comments, and the rest of the survey responses,
  21. 21. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 21 this seems to be an increase in start-­‐ups rather than existing organisations changing form. The suggested indicators for monitoring the sector include tracking the number of enterprises and when they were formed. 6.2 Staff Numbers Respondents were asked about full time equivalent staff, in order to get a sense of the jobs associated with their organisations. “Staff” might be taken to mean employees or freelance or associate staff. Volunteers were asked about in the next question, but many of these organisations are run with substantial volunteer input and time. Staff numbers are relatively small, with 29 having fewer than five staff, and 19 having no staff at all. Only one organisation had more than ten staff members.18 Fig.%8.%How%many%(full%2me%equivalent)%staff%does%% 19# your%organisa2on%have?% 10# 20# 18# 16# 14# 12# 10# 8# 6# 4# 2# 53#respondents# Of those that did not answer, some indicated that they were partners in a business or worker co-­‐operative rather than employees; some that all those working on a project were freelance. 6.3 Volunteers Many organisations benefit from significant volunteer time. This is interesting from a definitional point of view: some of the landowners interviewed seemed to associate volunteering with amateurism, and something that clearly distinguishes “social” activities in woodlands from traditional commercial activities. “Very committed” volunteers were cited as a crucial help by many of the interviewees. Volunteers are often instrumental in the running and governance of 18 This is Hill Holt Wood with 35 staff. 19# 4# 1# 0# None# 1,#or#less#than#1# Between#1#and#5# Between#5#and#10# More#than#10#
  22. 22. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 the organisation – and in some cases these organisations are entirely volunteer run and led. Burnout and exhaustion were recognised as key challenges to organisational sustainability in some of the phone interviews. Many of the survey and interview responses highlighted the link between volunteering and training / education activities; volunteers are seen to always get something from their labour (a sense of community, fitness, new skills). One of the interviewees recognised this, saying “people feel good and recognise their value and being part of the community”. Enterprises carrying out woodland management activities can do much more with volunteer labour than they could with only paid staff. One interviewee highlighted that their success in woodland management was down to creating a professional reputation for quality service, despite relying on volunteers. 22 4" 13" 7" 9" 8" 5" 5" 2" 1" 14" 12" 10" 8" 6" 4" 2" 0" None" 1"to"25" 26"to"50" 51"to"100" 101"to"250" 251"to"500" 501"to" 1000" 1001"to" 2000" 3000+" Fig.9.&In&a&typical&month,&about&how&many&hours&do& volunteers&give&to&your&organisa;on?&& 54"respondents"
  23. 23. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 7. Governance, Aims and Motivations 7.1 Legal Structures Respondents were asked to choose their legal structure from a menu of choices. The most common choice was that of a company limited by guarantee, followed closely by an unincorporated association. Fig.%10.%What%is%the%legal%form%of%your%enterprise?%% 47"respondents"(respondents"chose"one"answer)" 1" 1" 2" 2" 5" Company"Limited"by"Guarantee" Unincorporated"E"AssociaIon" CoEoperaIve"Society"(formerly"an"Industrial"and" Provident"Society"bona"fide"coEop)" Charitable"Incorporated"OrganisaIon" Community"Interest"Company"(limited"by" guarantee)" Community"Benefit"Society"(nonEcharitable)" Community"Interest"Company"(limited"by" shares)" Unincorporated"E"Partnership" Community"Benefit"Society"(charitable)" Limited"Liability"Partnership" Respondents were able to choose one answer; charitable status was asked about in the next question. Three commented that they had two separate legal forms – in one case to separate land ownership from the operational side of their business. The unincorporated associations were of varying sizes, ranging from “friends of” groups to more substantial unincorporated charities. It is notable that there are five 23 1" 2" 5" 6" 9" 13" 0" 2" 4" 6" 8" 10" 12" 14" Company"Limited"by"Shares"
  24. 24. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 Charitable Incorporated Organisations, or CIOs19 – a relatively new legal structure. Those in the “other” section included subsets of other organisations – for example, a group that was part of a chain of holiday parks, a sole trader, and a sub committee of a parish council. This again raises definitional issues. Stewart (2011)20 recognises that one of the key debates around woodland social enterprise is whether local authority trading companies21 should count. Autonomy from the state is one of Social Enterprise UK’s defining features of a social enterprise.22 However, local authority or parish / town council influence is a feature for some of these organisations. One of the larger charitable woodland owners interviewed as part of this research considered devolving management to parish councils as facilitating “community” control. Public sector woodland owners may be aware of the benefits of the multiple activities that social enterprises can run on their sites but unwilling to give up complete control23. Social Enterprise UK’s stipulation that social enterprises should be “autonomous of the state”24 would mean defining some of the respondents to this survey (at least three, on the information we have) as not social enterprises. The majority of these organisations are not registered charities. Fig$11.$Is$your$organisa/on$a$registered$charity?$ 56$respondents$ 19 For more information see: http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/frequently-­‐asked-­‐questions/faqs-­‐about-­‐ charitable-­‐incorporated-­‐organisations-­‐(cios)/ 20 Stewart, A (2011) “Woodland related social enterprise – Enabling factors and barriers to success”. Forest Research. Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/INFD-­‐84JD86 21 The Local Government Act 2003 enables councils to trade by setting up a trading company to generate income that is reinvested in the local area. 22 This does not seem to preclude reliance on the state in the form of contracts for service provision. 23 For more discussion of this see Swade, K, et al. (2013) “Community Management of Local Authority Woodlands in England: A scoping study”, Shared Assets for Forest Research. Available at: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/policy-­‐research/ 24 See http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/about/about-­‐social-­‐enterprise#what%20are%20ses 24 Yes$ 15$ 27%$ No$ 41$ 73%$
  25. 25. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 Being a charity restricts the activities that an organisation can carry out, but can bring tax advantages. It may be beneficial for these organisations to retain the flexibility of non-­‐charitable status. Tax status was not asked about in the survey, but two of the interviewees bought up uncertainty over their tax status as issues: both from the point of view of their own business, and of tax relief for any investors. The introduction of the Social Investment Tax Relief as of April 2014 may impact on these businesses.25 7.2 Aims, Values and Motivations Respondents were asked about the core values and aims of their organisation, and asked to chose as many as applicable from a menu of choices. 36# 32# 34# 23# 31# 40# 21# 26# 25# 20# 20# 21# 20# 21# 17# 27# 20# 28# 2# 4# 2# 10# 2# 1# 6# 8# 45# 40# 35# 30# 25# 20# 15# 10# 5# 40 of 59 respondents identified improving biodiversity and creating new habitats as a core value, with productive / regenerative woodland management coming a close second. A number of people added other core values in the comments box including: 25 • Reducing reoffending; • Maintaining rural skills, addressing behavioural issues with young people; • Provide recreation, moving towards tourism; • Heritage education – linked to woodland landscapes; • Engaging families in the arts in wild natural landscapes; and • Improving standards of woodfuel. 25 For information see www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-­‐on-­‐social-­‐investment-­‐tax-­‐relief 2# 0# Produc1ve#/# regenera1ve# woodland# management# Educa1on#&# skills# development# for#young# people# Educa1on#&# skills# development# for#adults# Local#economic# development#/# job#crea1on# Community# Development# Improving# biodiversity#/# crea1ng#new# habitats# Crea1ng# natural# products# Tackling#/# addressing# climate#change# Health#and# Wellbeing# Fig.%12.%Which%of%the%following%values%and%aims%were%most%important%when% se:ng%up%your%organisa<on?% 59#respondents#(respondents#could#select#mul1ple#answers)# Core# Secondary# N/A#
  26. 26. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 The creation of sustainable livelihoods (and a woodland lifestyle) was seen as important by the worker co-­‐ops interviewed. Another theme that came out of the interviews was that of individuals buying land with the intention of “giving something back” and working with other community members to develop an enterprise on or around it. This raised worries for some that they would be less able to attract grant funding as they would be seen to be privately backed. Another key theme involved individual social entrepreneurs developing enterprises and looking to employ staff when they were established enough. They might be described as “socially minded”, supporting community organisations by providing free services, and motivated by community concern. They tend not to have any element of community control or governance – and no intention for that to change. Education and skills development is another important motivating factor for these enterprises, and many see a clear link between engaging in woodlands and connecting people and communities to nature. One interviewee commented, “the magic of learning in woodland [should be] much more embedded in the culture” and education or training activities featured in many organisations’ business models. 7.3 Key Activities Respondents were then asked to indicate the key activities their organisation undertakes, again from a menu of choices. Many organisations undertake a range of different activities; this might be seen as a hallmark of a woodland social enterprise. The most common activities involve woodland management, with 46 of 60 respondents indicating that they managed woodland. 26
  27. 27. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 27 Fig.%13.%What%are%the%main%ac1vi1es%your%organisa1on%carries%out?% 60"respondents"(respondents"could"select"mul0ple"answers)""" 7" woodland"management:"to"improve"biodiversity"/"wildlife" woodland"management:"preserva0on"of"exis0ng"habitats"/" educa0on"services:"forest"schools"or"similar" woodland"management:"coppicing" educa0on"services:"skills"development"/"training"/" providing"ameni0es:"maintaining"footpaths,"benches,"etc" crea0on"of"products:"firewood" crea0on"of"products:"craJ" health"services:"physical"health" woodland"management:"plan0ng"new"woodland" health"services:"mental"health" crea0on"of"products:"hedging"stakes,"pea"s0cks,"bean"poles"etc" crea0on"of"products:"green"woodworking" woodland"management:"for"produc0on"of"0mber" food"growing:"forest"gardening" crea0on"of"products:"charcoal" Other"(please"specify)" crea0on"of"products:"construc0on"/"furniture" food"growing:"orchards" providing"for"recrea0on:"campsites,"bike"tracks"etc" crea0on"of"products:"wood"pellets"/"chip" food"growing:"agroforestry" Other activities that respondents specified included: • Preservation 11" 16" 16" 15" 26" 25" 23" 22" 21" 29" 34" 34" of landscape features, knowledge transfer and preservation and growth of skills to preserve sustainable landscape features • Other crafts, food production • Sawn timber • Design and construction of buildings out of natural materials • We tend to provide advice and support across these types of activities rather than undertake the work ourselves • Gardening • Other products: Woodland Herbs & wild food, tinctures and ointments. • Arts/theatre performance and workshops, in addition to large festival in woods and parkland nearby. • Verify production of Firewood, Woodchip, Pellets and Briquettes • Grazing cattle and sheep • Offender rehabilitation 6" 8" 11" 15" 21" 24" 29" 32" 46" 44" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" 35" 40" 45" 50" crea0on"of"products:"other";"please"specify"below"
  28. 28. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 The wide range of activities undertaken may have an influence on the debate around definitions. One question that may be worth considering is whether woodland social enterprise should encompass the wider woodland economy, and those woodland specific organisations that support it, or just activities carried out in woodlands. Interviewees were asked about their original motivations and whether these had changed or evolved over the course of the development of their enterprise. A number had encountered unforeseen issues, and highlighted the need to remain flexible. One biomass enterprise commented, “we quickly found that we were well supplied with woodchip, and that we should rather concentrate on providing the customers to use the supply or actually become the customer ourselves”. Others had found that their initial governance structure or set up was inadequate, or that they didn’t have the capacity to deliver what they had initially envisaged. At least two of the interviewees had developed partnerships with other community or social organisations to help them deliver their projects. One commented that, on reflection their group had not had the capacity to deliver what they were planning, and they wished that they had had some advice on this before they began. 28
  29. 29. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 Fig.%14%How%much%woodland%does%your%organisa7on%engage%with,%in%ha?% 18& 16& 51&engaging&with&woodland;&47&managing& 5& 6& 2& 2& 1& 1& 23& 11& 5& 6& 2& 0& 0& 0& under&10& 11&to&50& 51&to&100& 101&to&250& 251&to&500& 501&to&750& 751&to&1000& 1000+& 25& 20& 15& 10& 5& 0& Engaged&with& 18& 16& 5& 6& 2& 2& 1& 1& Manage& 23& 11& 5& 6& 2& 0& 0& 0& 29 8. Woodlands 8.1 Area of Woodland Respondents were asked approximately how many hectares of woodland they are active on, and on how much of that, if any, they undertook woodland management activities. A total of 6980.27ha of woodland is engaged with by 51 organisations. Woodland management activities are undertaken on 2624.8ha of this land, by 47 organisations. There were no notable regional differences. There are a large number of smaller areas of woodland being both engaged with and managed. The median amount engaged with per organisation is 20ha; and the median amount managed is 11.3ha. 18 of the 51 organisations are engaged in less than 10ha of land, and only four of the 51 are engaged in more than 500ha. Small areas of woodland can be seen as challenging to manage in an economically viable way. 27 of the 48 organisations doing woodland management activities manage the whole area of woodland that they are engaged with. 8.2 Types of Woodland Respondents were asked to choose as many types of woodland as applicable from a menu of choices. The majority are engaged with broadleaved woodland, and a substantial proportion with coppice.
  30. 30. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 30 Fig.%15.%What%type%of%woodlands%do%you%mainly%engage%with?%% 0" 56"respondents"(respondents"could"select"mulCple"answers)" 5" 7" 10" 17" 20" 19" 32" 34" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" 35" 40" Mixed"8"mainly"broadleaved" Broadleaved" Coppice"with"standards" CreaCng"new"coppice" Coppice" Young"trees" Mixed"8"mainly"conifer" Conifer" Shrub" 8.3 Woodland Tenure Respondents were asked to choose their legal relationship to the woodlands from a number of options. Fig."16."What"is"your"legal"rela8onship"to"these"woodlands?"" 56"respondents"(respondents"could"select"mu<ple"answers)" 3" 3" 3" 4" 7" 9" 17" 21" 24" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" Informal"agreement"with"the"owner" Management"Agreement" Freehold"ownership" Contract"for"other"ac<vi<es";"please"specify"below" Shorter"term"lease";"5"years"or"more" Long"(25"years"or"more)"lease" Contract"for"felling" Licence" Shorter"term"lease"(less"than"5"years)" 26 ticked just one box. 30 ticked more than one box, indicating the complexity of some of these relationships. Some of those with the largest number of relationships are those with the largest number of different activities. Some own woodland outright and engage in other ways with other sites. Lack of security of tenure came up as a key issue for enterprises in the telephone interviews. This does not mean
  31. 31. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 outright ownership26, but enough security to allow an enterprise to invest in a site. One enterprise had not taken forward an opportunity to restore overstood coppice due to a fear of losing access to the site once the coppice became profitable. The risk of informal agreements can be disproportionately borne by the enterprise. There was space provided for people to enter more details. Some of the comments shed further light on the different arrangements: 31 • We have currently no direct line of communication with the owner, [a district council]. • The land is owned by the Parish Council and the management committee is a sub committee of the P. • Lease of 2 hectares length unspecified. • Advisory service / woodland initiative. • We develop public rights of way, community volunteering activities. • We have the right to use permissive riding trails. • Main site lease, other sites by agreement. • More an agent relationship with woodland owners rather than us actually undertaking the work. • We have a contract with the forestry commission to cut coppice. • We are a 'Friends' Group and operate under the control of the Borough Council. • Partnership with private and public woodland owners. Fig.%17.%If%you%don't%own%the%woodland/s%you%work%on,%do%you% know%who%does?% 47"respondents"(respondents"could"select"mu7ple"answers)" 2" 2" 8" 11" 13" 24" 24" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" Local"Authority" Private"individual"/"family" Charity" Private"company"/"corpora7on" Na7onal"Government"(and"agencies,"eg"Forestry" Don't"know" Crown"Estate" Commission)" Those that do not own all the woodland they work on were asked to choose the owner from a multiple-­‐choice menu. As some respondents work across different sites, they had the option to select multiple answers. The two most common choices were the local authority, and private individuals or families. 26 Indeed Lawrence & Molteno (2012) indicate that for community woodlands, ownership is often not preferred. Community Forest Governance – a Rapid Evidence Review, 2012. Available at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/files/Community-­‐forest-­‐governance-­‐RER.pdf
  32. 32. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 9. Finances 9.1 Turnover Respondents were asked about the finances of their organisations. They were asked to indicate the turnover (total income) of the organisation from a series of categories. 11 respondents indicated a total income of over £100,000. 13 had less than £5000. 10" 9" 8" 7" 6" 5" 4" 3" 2" 1" Some of those that didn’t answer indicated that this was their first year of trading and therefore they did not have these figures. Some are part of larger organisations and did not have disaggregated figures to hand. 9.2 Surplus Respondents were asked what the surplus was at the end of the last financial year. Surplus was defined as the amount of money left after all costs had been accounted for. As above, a number of people commented that as this was the first year of trading for their enterprise, they did not yet have figures. Of the 52 who answered this question, 43 made less than £5000 surplus, and 13 made a loss. The range of activities and business models carried out by organisations in this sector means that it is hard to draw general conclusions from this data. What serves as a comfortable small surplus for a volunteer led organisation may be unsustainable for a worker co-­‐operative. One survey respondent commented, “it's inspirational to work with the woodland environment doing what we do, but it's 32 6" 7" 9" 4" 6" 5" 8" 3" 3" 0" Less"than" £1000" Between" £1000"and" £5000" Between" £5000"and" £10,000" Between" £10,000" and" £20,000" Between" £20,000" and" £50,000" Between" £50,000" and" £100,000" Between" £100,000" and" £500,000" Over" £500,000" Don't"know" Fig.%18.%What%was%your%turnover%in%the%last%financial%year?% 51"respondents"
  33. 33. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 33 hard work and financially quite alarming. We survive with the goodwill of owners, staff, and volunteers.” 13# Fig.%19.%What%was%the%surplus%at%the%end%of%the%last%financial%year?%% 14# 6# 10# 52#respondents# 0# 0# 1# 2# 1# 5# 16# 14# 12# 10# 8# 6# 4# 2# 0# Nega.ve#(we# made#a#loss)# We#broke# even# Less#than# £1000# Between# £1000#and# £5000# Between# £5000#and# £10,000# Between# £10,000#and# £20,000# Between# £20,000#and# £50,000# Between# £50,000#and# £100,000# Over# £100,000# Don't#know# The most common use of any surplus was reinvestment in the enterprise’s existing services. Fig.%20.%If%you%made%a%surplus,%what%was%it%used%for?% 36"respondents" 0" 2" 3" 6" 8" 17" 0" 2" 4" 6" 8" 10" 12" 14" 16" 18" Reinvestment"in"your"enterprise"to"grow"an"exisCng"service" Growing"your"organisaCon's"reserves" Investment"in"your"enterprise"to"develop"new"services" Investment"in"other"community"or"social"enterprises" Paid"as"a"bonus"to"staff" Paid"as"a"dividend"to"members"/"shareholders" 9.3 Turnover and surplus per hectare Turnover and surplus per hectare of woodland managed are often used as indicators in traditional forestry and woodland management. The data gathered here does not allow a precise calculation of these figures, but by taking the mid point of the categories provided for turnover and surplus in Figures 18 and 19 above, and cross
  34. 34. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 34 referencing with the amount of woodland managed (discussed further in Section 8), we can see that there is a wide variety in both. 1" 12" Fig.%21.%Approximate%turnover%per%hectare% 5" 8" 39"respondents" 3" 4" 2" 0" 2" 2" 14" 12" 10" 8" 6" 4" 2" 0" Under"£100"£101"to"£500" £501"to" £1000" £1001"to" £3000" £3001"to" £5000" £5001"to" £10000" £10,001"to" £15,000" £15,001"to" £20,000" £50,001"to" £100,000" over" £100,000" 9" 13" 2" Fig.%22.%Approximate%surplus%per%ha% 4" 38"respondents" 0" 1" 3" 0" 4" 2" 14" 12" 10" 8" 6" 4" 2" 0" Less"than"£0" Break5even" £1"to"£25" £26"to"£50" £51"to"£75" £76"to"£100" £101"to"£150" £151"to"£200" £201"to"£500" more"than" £1000" The majority of enterprises (22 of the 38 which answered both questions) are breaking even or making a loss when looked at in this way. The wide variety of activities that social enterprises carry out can mean that smaller plots of land are more intensively used and that in some cases more income is generated than would be the case with commercial woodland management. It should be noted that these can only be approximate figures, and do not take into account non-­‐monetary contributions like volunteer time or non-­‐monetary outputs like increased wellbeing.
  35. 35. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 35 9.4 Start up costs Respondents were then asked about the capital needed to set up the organisation, where it came from and what it was used for. 14# Fig.%23.%Approximately%how%much%money%did%you%need%to% 9# start%up%your%enterprise?% 4# 58#respondents# 3# 12# 3# 3# 10# 16# 14# 12# 10# 8# 6# 4# 2# 0# Less#than#£1000#Between#£1000# and#£5000# Between#£5000# and#£10,000# Between# £10,000#and# £20,000# Between# £20,000#and# £50,000# Between# £50,000#and# £100,000# Over#£100,000# Don't#know# Fig.%24.%What%did%you%need%it%for?%% 5" 7" 7" 55"respondents" 15" 19" 19" 18" 34" 37" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" 35" 40" Equipment"costs" Insurance" Other"(please"specify)" Staff"costs" Vehicle"costs" Legal"fees" Accredita:ons" Site"purchase" Site"rental" Responses in the “other” category included construction costs, working capital, and expenditure associated with planning:
  36. 36. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 36 • Building costs • Running costs like petrol, repairs, show fees • Setting up infrastructure • Tree planting, fencing • Website • To write a forest plan • Provision of an onsite cabin • Cash flow • Running taster days • Regeneration of the site • Enterprise set up and registration • Construction costs for Forest Centre (visitor centre and conferencing facility) • Access track and gate • Publication costs • Business planning and share offer costs • Livestock Fig.%25.%Where%did%it%come%from?% 0" 0" 3" 3" 2" 2" 5" 9" Founders'"own"capital"–"cash" Grants">"public"sector" Grants">"trusts"&"foundaFons" Other"(please"specify)" DonaFons"–"public" Prepayment"by"customers" Community"share"issue" Loan">"family"&"friends" Leasing"/"Hire"Purchase" agreement" Loan"–"commercial"lenders" Other"share"issue" Comments in the “other” category included: • We 15" 18" 20" didn't spend any money until we had earned it from sales of beanpoles, pea sticks and firewood. • Core funding was provided by local authority partners to cover costs. 30" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" 35" Loan"–"social"lenders" 55"respondents"
  37. 37. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 37 • Grants plus fund-­‐raising through equestrian events. • Core funding from local authorities. • Grant support from FC, plus small grants from County Council for pilot delivery of social activities, plus support from NAAONB social forestry pilots project. • Council contracts • Fundraising activities • Membership fees • Our organisation was pre-­‐existing, organising our events but not based daily in woodland. Most organisations had received some kind of in kind support, from free labour, to donation of equipment and materials. Fig.%26.%Did%you%have%any%"in%kind"%contribu8ons,%where%no%money%changed% 21" hands?%47"respondents" Free"labour"(by"volunteers"and"other"supporters)" Free"labour"(by"the"founders"of"the"enterprise)" Free"use"of"land" Free"professional"advice" Dona:on"of"equipment" Dona:on"of"materials" Dona:on"of"premises" 9.5 Enterprise Tools Respondents were asked about how they made money. They were asked to choose approximately how much of their income came from various sources: • Trading – customers • Contracts – private businesses • Contracts – public sector • Grants – public sector • Grants – trusts & foundations • Donations – public 1" 5" 9" 18" 21" 32" 40" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" 35" 40" 45" Gi,"of"ownership"of"land"
  38. 38. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 38 There was an option to tick “other” and to provide further details. Figure 27 shows how important each of these sources of income was for the 53 of the 60 respondents who had this information to hand. Fig.%27.%Can%you%show%roughly%how%your%organisa3on's%income%broke%down% 4" 10" 10" 8" 7" 5" 14" last%year?%% 53"respondents" 10" 7" 18" 14" 12" 5" 0%" 10%" 20%" 30%" 40%" 50%" 60%" 70%" 80%" 90%" 100%" DonaEons"–"public" Grants"B"trusts"&"foundaEons" Grants"B"public"sector" Contracts"–"public"sector" Contracts"–"private"businesses" Trading"–"customers" Key themes that come out of this data include: 3" 3" 3" 4" 4" 7" 1" 3" 4" 3" 10" 2" 1" None" 25%"or"less" Between"25%"and"50%" Between"50%"and"75%" Between"75%"and"100%" • most organisations have at least some trading activity, • none are entirely reliant on donations from the public, • but donations are an important lesser source of income for many, • organisations have varied income streams; most do not have their “eggs in one basket”, • for those that do rely on one key source of income, it is mostly trading with the public. Another source of income mentioned by some respondents was feed in tariffs and the renewable heat incentive. Respondents were also asked how they expected this breakdown to change over the next three years. The pattern does not change notably, which is interesting in itself; some commented that they did not expect a significant change.
  39. 39. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 Fig.%28%How%do%you%expect%this%to%change%in%the%next%three%years?%% 7" 5" 7" 6" 2" DonaEons"–"public" Grants"B"trusts"&"foundaEons" Grants"B"public"sector" Contracts"–"public"sector" Contracts"–"private"businesses" As seen in Section 9.2 above, finances are often tight for these organisations. This is particularly acute for those motivated by trying to make a living, as opposed to the volunteer-­‐led organisations. One woodland management worker co-­‐operative interviewed commented that “we're all just struggling for money – if we could actually live on the land, it would be a completely viable system.” The interviews also shed light on some of the different types of business models in use. Partnership working featured highly for many enterprises, and almost all carried out a wide range of activities. The opportunity to manage woodland was one of the key driving factors for many – “all those woodlands, just waiting to be cut”, but from a business point of view, “it's the people stuff that makes the money”. Contracts with public authorities to engage young people or offenders in woodlands featured highly. 39 2" 6" 9" 4" 7" 8" 7" 12" 19" 8" 3" 7" 8" 3" 7" 3" 3" 10" 1" 0%" 10%" 20%" 30%" 40%" 50%" 60%" 70%" 80%" 90%" 100%" Trading"–"customers" 48"respondents" None" 25%"or"less" Between"25%"and"50%" Between"50%"and"75%" Between"75%"and"100%"
  40. 40. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 9.6 Finance Respondents were then asked whether their organisation had needed financial support in the last year, and asked to indicate whether they had considered various different types of finance, and if so whether they had been successful in securing them. The table below shows their responses. 11 had been successful in getting a Forestry Commission grant. 20 had been successful in pursuing a local authority27 or other public sector grant. Only five had considered community share issues, and only two pursued them. These two are woodfuel projects, which chimes with Co-­‐operatives UK’s report that community energy projects are key users of the community shares mechanism.28 The phone interviews revealed that a number of organisations are considering “community supported firewood” schemes, where customers pay for their firewood upfront, to help them with cashflow, rather than trying to source grants or other funding or finance. 27 Many local authorities structure their contracts with third sector organisations as grants in order to simplify the procurement process. 28 See http://www.uk.coop/pressrelease/estimates-­‐community-­‐shares-­‐2012-­‐show-­‐buoyant-­‐and-­‐growing-­‐market 40
  41. 41. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 41 Fig.%29.%Has%your%organisa0on%needed%financial%support%in%the%last%year?%Please%let%us%know%what% types%of%support%you%have%considered,%whether%you%pursued%them,%and%whether%you%were% 15& 5& 11& Grant&'&Forestry& Commission& 13& 20& 11& 11& Grant&'&Local& authority&/&other& public&sector& 9& 18& Grant&'&trust&or& founda:on& 4& 1& 1& 1& 1& Loan&'&commercial& 5& lender& Loan&'&social&lender& 2& 2& 0& 0& 0& 0& Hire&Purchase&or& equipment&lease& agreement& 5& Community&Share& 2& Issue&& Other&Share&Issue& 25& 20& 15& 10& 5& Considered& 15& 13& 9& 4& 5& 2& 5& 2& Applied&for&/&Pursued& 5& 11& 11& 1& 1& 0& 0& 0& Secured&finance&/&funding& 11& 20& 18& 1& 1& 0& 2& 0& 0& 0& successful.%%%
  42. 42. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 42 10. Support needs and key challenges 36 of 56 respondents said that they had support when setting up their businesses. This ranged from support from a local authority, to grant funding, to business support from infrastructure organisations. 10.1 Retrospective support needs Respondents were then asked what type of support would have been useful, and to chose from a list of options. Fig.%30%What%type%of%support%would%have%been%useful%when%se:ng%up%your% 5" business?%53"respondents"" 9" 14" 14" 20" 39" 0" 5" 10" 15" 20" 25" 30" 35" 40" 45" Grant"Fund" Business"Advice" Other"(please"specify)" Woodland"Skills"training" Easier"access"to"woodland" Loan"Fund" Some of the comments in the “other” box included the need for business and governance advice, training and business planning support: • We were ok setting up, but we don't have huge aspirations, and we had the expertise available. However, we could do so much more if we had the vision within the group. Inspirational activities or resources would have helped. • Legal advice was crucial but very expensive. • We had a long battle to get planning permission for change of use from agricultural (the site was originally a field where we planted the trees with a FC grant) to be registered as an educational site as the planning department insisted we should be. It took 9 months and support and information about other forest school planning issues would have really helped. • We looked at becoming a social enterprise but we do not sell products or produce sufficient income, which is why we went down the charity route. Some proper business advice at this point might have produced a different outcome.
  43. 43. Woodland Social Enterprise in England: Data Baseline Shared Assets, December 2013 43 • If setting up now, useful advice would relate to governance models for SEs and CICs, data from research relating to the social and economic potential of woodlands, and a database of local and regional organisations operating with charitable/social aims … a piece of work tailored to the forestry and conservation sector would be useful. • Support for business planning – legislation and planning plus start up funds • Training to get key staff qualified to teach adults. • Free training for core skills would be AMAZING – for core members and volunteers. The Making Local Food Work programme may provide some guidance on support needs for land based social and community enterprises. The final report29 of that programme stressed the importance of active networks and long term, sector specific advice. 10.2 Key challenges The challenges of traditional forestry also apply to woodland social enterprise: disease, insurance and equipment costs, and the “commercial realities” of the wood market. Many of these organisations are straddling two sectors and have the opportunities but also the risks of both. The need for support navigating the planning system also came up in the phone interviews. Given the multiple activities many of these organisations carry out, structures in the woodland are often necessary. Some activities that might be essential to the organisation’s business model may also be seen as being “beyond forestry”, and not permitted. One of the survey respondents commented that “the current definition of forestry in Planning Guidance is completely out of date and therefore getting planning to carry out social enterprises and set up infrastructure is extremely difficult. This is the biggest hurdle for most aspiring to create new enterprises.” The phone interviews asked in more detail about what had helped or hindered the development of these enterprises. Two mentioned that the “community rights” established in the Localism Act 201130 had been helpful in progressing their plans. Both woodfuel enterprises interviewed said that the Renewable Heat Incentive had been crucial in their development so far, but that the “volatile nature of various renewable subsidies is a particular barrier to effective planning”. One interviewee mentioned the benefits of the English Woodland Grant Scheme, and as noted above 11 of the respondents had received grants from the Forestry Commission. The combination of the lack of security of tenure noted above and the payment of grants to landowners had caused a problem for at least one interviewee: 29 Making Local Food Work: Connecting Land and People through Food, Final Report (2012). Available at: http://www.uk.coop/sites/storage/public/downloads/mlfw_connecting_land_and_people_final_report_0.pdf 30 For more information see: Department for Communities and Local Government (2011), A Plain English Guide to the Localism Act: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/5959/1896534.pdf

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