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Did Cydcoed grants for community woodland development deliver social and economic results?


Around £16 million in Cydcoed grants supported over 160 projects in Wales t o make use of woodland for community developments. Forest Research analysed whether the projects achieved their longer-term objectives: helping high capacity community groups to influence decisions about their locality; making woods deliver long-term local social, economic, and environmental benefits; and supporting individuals to play a positive role in their local community.

Key findings

  • Empowering – groups reported that having the remit and money to develop, manage and deliver on a project had been empowering
  • Strong communities – 80% of groups thought their project had helped develop stronger ties within their community
  • Quality of life – 84% of groups thought the community’s quality of life had improved
  • Partnerships – working together was important to success where partnerships were negotiated and managed by the group
  • Significant contributions to the Welsh Assembly’s social and environmental justice agenda in Wales

Social impacts:

  • Community members are able and willing to participate in the local processes of decision-making and find it an empowering and cohesive experience
  • More than half of interviewees said that involvement in Cydcoed had considerably improved their overall health and well-being, which is particularly important for projects in the South Wales Valleys where health deprivation is among the highest in Britain

Economic non-market benefits to the wider community:

  • Costs avoided to the education sector may exceed £107,000 per year
  • Recreational benefits may reach £15 million per year
  • Costs avoided to the NHS may be as high as £815,000 per year
  • Environmental benefits are around £840,000 per year

Publications and presentations

Funders and partners

Commissioned and funded by Forestry Commission Wales.


Completed in November 2008.

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