The Coastal Communities Fund has awarded Bute Forest Ltd £71,285 to establish a community timber products business. 

The grant will fund a part-time Business & Marketing Manager for one year, a new workshop and equipment and promotional materials. The award will ensure the business will establish a range of products and a customer base quickly, enabling the business to employ people locally and ensuring BFL can meet the ongoing the costs of maintaining the forest.

The timber products business already employs a Forester, Ben Robinson, and is planning to advertise a new vacancy for a carpenter in the next few weeks. It is expected that a further two positions are created within the next 18 months.

The business currently operates only on Bute and supplies customers with sheds, fences, gates, benches and picnic tables built to order. Kindling can be purchased from the office. The expansion to the business will result in a wider range of products and designs, with a range of garden furniture and fence panels already being planned.

Emma Cooper, Forest Manager said ‘It has always been of vital importance that the forest find a way of ensuring it can cover its basic costs, such as insurance, accounting and maintenance. Being able to do this in a manner which employs people, improves the environment in the forest through selective felling and provides people on Bute with a new service is very satisfying. We hope that customers will find we offer a quality service at competitive rates, with the added bonus of a guaranteed low carbon footprint and the knowledge that they are supporting local employment and training’.

The development of a workshop will also enable the forest to offer a range of training courses. It is expected that the forest will be better able to meet the high level of demand it has faced from unemployed people wanting to learn new skills and stay active.

You can read more about the Coastal Communities Fund awards here:

And more about the Bute Forest award here:

The money in the Coastal Communities Fund is allocated to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is equal to 50 per cent of the revenues generated by the Crown Estate’s marine assets in that area.

It is distributed in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘BIG Fund’ and the relevant devolved administration. Based on the Crown Estate’s Marine revenues in 2010/11 (£47.4 million), the overall fund was worth £23.7 million in 2012.

Funds can be used to support both capital and revenue projects, and communities are encouraged to match funds with other pots of money.