I have recently met with the owner of the woodland after becoming increasingly frustrated with the mammoth task of raising the deposit pretty much alone. After explaining the situation to him and reiterating my plans for the area he has given me all of the confirmation I needed to be able to start putting my plans into action. (A significantly smaller deposit and monthly repayments have been agreed)
It was this confirmation I have been waiting for and am now confident that I can put everything I have into developing the space for it to be safe and usable for activities and events with Lads Without Dads.
This will be no easy task, the 4 acres of pasture land need cutting and sectioning, drainage and poly tunnel needs cleared and dug, walkways and bridges need to be established, the pond needs to be dredged and widened and camping and recreational areas need to be established, amongst many other duties.
The 4 acres of woodland have to be cleared, trees surveyed and dangerous or rotten branches felled. Paths, walkways, camping areas cleared and recreational areas established.
There is large shed on site that is intended to be used as an office/tool store/dry space in adverse conditions/first aid point/secure area/meeting point/ and somewhere to make a warm drink or snack. This shed needs to be re waterproofed, lined, boarded, solar panels and a log burner fitted for the winter months.
Also needed is for the whole area to be sectioned into zones and risk assessed to maximise the safety of all visitors.
Now that I have the confirmation that the woodland is not at risk of being sold elsewhere and that I have complete control of the area, I am fully confident that with the help of my fantastic group of friends, family members and volunteers I will achieve the second stage of my mission for Lads Without Dads.
I started Lads Without Dads alone after my own experience of the trauma and consequences growing up in a broken home has on a young man.
I designed the website and social media pages, I designed and printed the flyers and leaflets, I made the donation tins by printing, cutting and sticking our logo to savings tins. I have replied to countless emails and messages from distraught single mothers begging for advice and assistance as many are fearful for their sons lives. I have arranged swims in the freezing sea on New Year’s Day, mountain climbs, fun activities, social media campaigns, and contributed what little I have myself to fund activities.
I have taken groups of young men paint balling, go karting, trampolining, fishing, playing tennis and basketball, beach cleans amongst others.
I really do hope to try and at least inspire some of the young men I have and will continue to help to be free, happy, respectful human beings.
I do not, nor would ever want to be payed or benefit financially for the work I do for this group and have not, or will never charge the young men or their families for participating in the activities and events.
The vision I have for the future of LWD and this area is something I wish to be continued for many years. Taking small groups on sporadic outings to corporate entertainment venues is something I had to do at the beginning, but is the opposite of the ethos I am hoping to inspire with this woodland.
I would like to teach as many young men as possible to catch a fish, light a fire, climb a tree and plant a seed!
Once the woodland is established and we are running regular activities there I have many plans for the area to be self-sustainable financially, as well as environmentally. The 36-foot poly tunnel on site will produce lots of organic fruit and vegetables, the chickens and ducks will lay many free-range eggs, we are going to plant an orchard with various varieties of apples, pears and fruit and one idea is to make organic cider. Chutneys, jams and preserves will also be made and all of these will raise significant revenue to pay for the land and develop the area, not to mention camping and activities that will be rented out to members of the public at certain times to further generate income.
We are going to need various tools, equipment and volunteers and hope that everyone who previously offered their support will be able to assist us in the coming weeks and months. (lists of equipment/ help needed will be posted shortly)
Thank you to everyone who has donated, volunteered, shared, inspired and supported us since the beginning, we are now very close to where we need to be.
We cannot do this alone and are going to need all of the help and support we can generate to bring these plans to fruition, with the hope of starting activities there for Lads Without Dads by late summer this year.
Thank you all,
Founder: Lads Without Dads X