Creating wonderful from windfall

by New Caledonian Woodlands

About the project


Tipping Point £1,145
Our own juicing kitchen £5,395
More time! £11,260
tipping point
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project


What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?

Mental health

Mental health has gradually become less hidden and stigmatised, but there is still a great deal of difference between rhetoric and reality.  People experiencing mental ill-health continue to be poorly understood and discriminated against within society, while the kinds of services that current research suggests there is a need for are thin on the ground.  As illustration of this, our projects regularly have a waiting list, meaning that we can’t offer places to everyone referred who would benefit. 

Participants accessing our projects are adults experiencing mental health issues, including individuals with psychotic disorders.  This group of people are by definition disadvantaged & their ill-health tends to cause them to sink through the socio-economic strata of society over time, becoming socially isolated and marginalised and being more likely to experience poverty.  These processes lead to massive losses in confidence, big gaps in job histories & consequent difficulty in accessing employment.  Our project work focuses on tackling these trends using a person-centred approach.  

Environmental sustainability

Scotland is one of the most deforested parts of Europe (20% forest cover versus an average across Europe of over 40%).  Only ¼ of our forest is native species woodland, the remaining ¾ is non-native plantation.  Early and intensive industrialisation and other historical features of land-ownership mean that Scots have a weaker relationship with their natural landscape than is evident in a number of neighbouring European nations.  This disconnection leads to a lack of collective stewardship.  It also leads to a lack of opportunity for local people and communities to engage with and benefit from their local environment. 

At a global level, we are seeing rising global greenhouse gas emissions that the world has thus far failed to act to curb in an adequate way.  The latest evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world.  Climate change will have far reaching effects on Scotland's economy, its people and its environment.  The world-leading Climate Change (Scotland) Act requirements to reduce carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 will only be achieved if we all make changes to our patterns of behaviour.

Can you give us some statistics on this problem?

Mental health

Statistics compiled by the Mental Health Foundation indicate that in the UK, 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorder.  Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe, while annual prescription rates of antidepressant in the UK rose above 50 million in 2013 and continue to rise.

There is a growing body of evidence that shows activities like gardening, green gyms and environmental conservation can help lift mood, raise self-esteem and reduce stress for people with mental health problems. Research demonstrates that supervised programmes of exercise can be equally effective as antidepressants (MIND, Ecotherapy: The green agenda for mental health) in treating mild to moderate depression.

Environmental sustainability

Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have significantly increased since 1900. Since 1970, CO2 emissions have increased by about 90%, with emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributing about 78% of the total greenhouse gas emissions increase from 1970 to 2011. Agriculture, deforestation, and other land-use changes have been the second-largest contributors.  While growth in global carbon emissions has shown signs of slowing since 2012, total global carbon emissions continue to rise.  Enough is not being done.

What is your solution?

What we do is all about potential.  Enabling people who have experienced mental ill-health to develop and grow – highlighting their potential to everyone, especially to themselves.  Showcasing Scotland’s woodlands and orchards and their potential to help us all live more environmentally sustainable lives.  

How will you deliver this?

Since 2008, we have set up three core ‘people projects’ - Good Wood, Fruitful Woods & the Fruitful Woods Collective - that together provide 75 placements per annum.  Together, these projects offer a 3-tier pathway which provides linked & graded stepping stones enabling people who have experienced a period of mental ill-health or with enduring mental health issues, to work towards reduced social isolation, a more active role in society and employment. 

1. Good Wood (from 2008).  Woodland-based placements ½ day per week for up to 30 weeks. Very supported, gentle, focus on engaging, broadening out horizons & confidence building.

2. Fruitful Woods (from 2014).  Emphasis on working towards employment, the setting is nurturing & supportive, but also deliberately challenging.  Placements are 1–3 days per week for up to 12 months.

3. The Fruitful Woods Collective (being piloted from 2016).  Fruitful Woods alumni make & sell their own produce as a form of self-employment. Decision-making is in their hands, support is given to negotiate psycho-social & business hurdles.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Pledge an amount now and enable us to flourish.
  • 5 minutes
    Talk about our project; share our Buzzbank page on Facebook or Twitter; encourage your friends to pledge as well.
  • 15 minutes
    Email some information and photos from our Buzzbank page to 10 family, friends and colleagues who don't use Twitter/Facebook and ask them to pledge. You can use this quick link
  • 30 minutes
    Have a look round our website and see the full range of mental health, employability and environmental sustainability work that we do.
  • A few hours
    Join us on one of our project days – learn a new skill, hone existing skills, share your skills with others in the group. Tea, coffee, biscuits and good chat in the woods guaranteed.
  • Regular time commitment
    Speak to us about ways you could support our work through regular volunteering.

Share your comments

Opinions and comments mentioned on the FundIt.Buzz website are the personal views of individual contributors. FundIt.Buzz takes no responsibility for these views. However if you find something that you think does not meet our guidelines you can report it to
Alex HG 27 November 2016 - 12:51

New Caledonia Woodlands is a unique and high impact socially and environmentally driven venture that we have been incredibly impressed with over the years. Some additional investment to help this organisation maximise its long term potential is very much deserved. Well done to Andy and the team on achievements to date and best of luck for the next 10 years!

M R 27 November 2016 - 12:34

This organisation creates positive outcomes in two very important fields,the environment and mental health in a low key but extremely effective and caring way.. My donation will be a festive gift for several people who don't need another scarf ,and also a gift for people who need our help .M R

Rob1 24 November 2016 - 21:56

I think this is a great project, happy to support this, am really inspired by your work!

Emma and Otto 24 November 2016 - 21:35

Feel very lucky to have a chance to support this project. love every bit of it, from the conservation to the social and human side. There's a lot of wonder that comes out of that windfall!

Ally Graham 24 November 2016 - 21:14

Brilliant project and cause to support- well done!!

Andy Ross 24 November 2016 - 11:18

Lang may yer lum reek (carbon neutrally) New Caledonian Woodlands - To the next 10 years!

What do you think?

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Our mission. To enhance the natural environment, inspire positive environmental behaviour change and improve mental / physical well-being and employability. Our values: 1. Integrity: Always being true to our core mission and to our values. 2. Contribution: Enabling people to achieve positive change. 3. Connection: Deepening relationships with people and with the planet. 4. Experiential: Learning that engages the whole person. 5. Warmth: Personable and sensitive – a warm welcome and a fond farewell. 6. Courageous: A willingness to be brave – to stand by our values to achieve amazing things. 7. Inclusive: Welcoming diversity and empowering people to flourish. 8. Enterprising: Visionary and forward thinking in the pursuit of environmental and financial sustainability.

Geographical coverage

Within a city/shire

Our track record

We started really small, with all our tools in the back of a tiny car - HQ was a kitchen table in a one-bedroom flat in Leith. Right from the start we were busy, always it seems with so much more to do than we had time to do it in. Often tired, sometimes too tired – there has been lots of joy along the way, but also there has truly been blood, sweat and tears. Last year we worked with over 800 people across 10 projects and improved biodiversity and habitat resilience through our habitat management activities at 26 sites. We’ve retained our integrity and stayed true to our beliefs along the way too – our office spaces are heated using wood-fuel we harvest ourselves. Our integrity is really important to us.

Who do we help?

We nurture people and we nurture the planet.

Awards And Recognitions

2014 - Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award - finalist. 2012 – Private Business Awards Social Enterprise of the Year - nominee. 2009 – Scotland Unltd Millennium Award - winner. 2007 - Scottish Business in the Community 2007 Cares Programme - community partner of the year. 2007 – Scottish Institute for Enterprise Business Plan Competition – highly commended.