Structure

Woodcraft Folk is open to all ages, from birth to adult. The organisation’s purpose, according to our constitution, is:

The advancement of education and the empowerment of children and young people for the public benefit by encouraging children and young people to participate in society, improving their lives and others through active citizenship; and promoting the interests and welfare of children and young people. 

Scale & scope
There are over 400 Woodcraft Folk groups registered with our head office. Most of these are in England, with a smaller numbers in Scotland and Wales. Woodcraft Folk does not currently have any groups in Northern Ireland.

We have over 3,500 volunteers who support the work of these groups, whether as leaders and helpers working directly with our young members, or working behind the scenes helping with group admin or fundraising. Many, but by no means all, of these volunteers are parents of children who attend our groups.

Most of our groups consist of between 10 and 20 young members. We encourage children and young people to attend as regularly as possible so that they can get the most out of being part of the group, form strong friendships and shape the group’s identity.

Woodcraft Folk only operates within the UK – however, it is part of the global movement of progressive youth organisations known as IFM-SEI (International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International), which has member organisations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Through IFM-SEI, Woodcraft Folk members get the opportunity to attend camps, courses and workshops abroad with children and young people from many other youth movements.

 Groups & Districts
Most of our work with children and young people happens in our regular groups that meet across the UK. These groups take place in the evenings or at weekends, and most last between one and two hours. Groups are run by volunteers, and we seek to involve children and young people in the running of the group.

The majority of our groups are divided by age (although some are run as ‘Open Groups’ for young people of any age):

• Under sixes are known as Woodchips
• Six to nine year olds are known as Elfins
• Ten to twelve year olds are Pioneers
• Thirteen to fifteen year olds are Venturers
DFs (or District Fellows) are aged sixteen to twenty

 DFs are more autonomous and usually arrange their own activities as well as helping with the younger groups.

Adult volunteers are sometimes known as ‘Kinsfolk’. The term ‘Young Kinsfolk’ is sometimes applied to young adults volunteering with the organisation, typically those who have grown up in Woodcraft Folk, rather than being recruited as parent helpers.

Every group is also part of a District. A District may consist just of one group (known as a ‘lone group’), a number of groups run in the same location for different age groups, or a larger number of groups run across a larger area. A District can cover any geographic area, from a small part of a town or city to a whole county. Our groups are organised into over 100 Districts.

Districts oversee and support the Woodcraft Folk’s work in their area, which may include providing training, undertaking development work or applying for external funding. The District will also approve and amend policies that guide the work of individual groups, such as the Local Safeguarding Plan. You can find out more about the role and structure of a District in section 1 d (iii) below.

Regions & Nations
Regions and Nations bring together groups and Districts in the same part of the UK. Our groups in England are arranged into six Regions, which have their own regional committees and hold regular training and networking events for members:

• Eastern

• London

• Midlands

• Northern

• South East

• South West

Scotland and Wales have a slightly different relationship to the UK-wide organisation, reflecting their identity as devolved nations of the UK. In Wales, the organisation is known as Gwerin y Coed – the Woodcraft Folk in Wales, and a number of groups are run wholly or partly through the medium of Welsh. See Where We Are on the website for more information about the groups and Districts that make up our Regions and Nations.

Centres
An important part of Woodcraft Folk’s work has always been to provide opportunities for children & young people to experience the outdoors and explore the natural environment. To help deliver this aim, the organisation has a small network of outdoor centres and campsites suitable for groups of different sizes. Further information and booking details can be found on the Centres & Campsites section of the website.

Cudham Environmental Activities Centre, Kent
Cudham is a residential centre that can accommodate up to 40 people in eight bedrooms containing bunk beds. It is located in a three-acre woodland site on the edge of the North Downs in Kent, an area of outstanding natural beauty. The centre can be self-catering or full board depending on the needs of individual groups.

Darsham Country Centre, Suffolk
Our Darsham Centre is housed in a converted railway station, nine miles from the seaside town of Southwold and sleeps 22 in seven bedrooms furnished with beds and bunks. There is also a garden that can be used for a small amount of overflow camping. Regular trains on the Ipswich to Lowestoft line stop right at the door, making it a good choice for groups travelling by public transport. The centre is a great base for exploring the Suffolk heathland coast and the nearby RSPB reserve at Minsmere.

Height Gate Outdoor Centre, West Yorkshire
Height Gate is a seventeenth century farmhouse high above the Calder Valley, which has been converted into a camping barn. It is situated between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, and provides accommodation in carpeted bedrooms for groups of up to 30 people.

Lockerbrook Outdoor Activities Centre, Derbyshire
Lockerbrook is situated on the hillside above the Ladybower Reservoir, in the heart of the Peak District National Park. The centre can accommodate groups of up to 38 in eight rooms furnished with bunk beds. A small amount of space is also available for camping. Lockerbrook is an excellent base for hill walking in the Dark Peak, or for more adventurous outdoor activities (for which instructors can be arranged at an additional cost). The centre is available on either a self-catering or full board basis.

Scarlett’s Campsite, West Sussex
Scarlett’s is a 4½ acre campsite near East Grinstead and offers a convenient location for group camps. It is well away from busy roads and offers a water tap, kitchen area with fireplace and a cesspit.

Woodcraft Park Farm, West Sussex
Woodcraft Park Farm is a forty-two acre campsite near the village of Lurgashall, and offers scope for both small and larger group camps. The site has been sensitively developed and has toilet and shower facilities on site.

General Council & governance
Woodcraft Folk is governed by an elected group of members known as General Council. As Woodcraft Folk is both a registered charity and a limited company, General Council acts as both the trustees of the charity and the directors of the company. General Council is responsible for setting and monitoring the budget, employing staff, and overseeing all Woodcraft’s policies and procedures, including our Safeguarding arrangements.

General Council is accountable to Woodcraft Folk’s members, and to representatives of its groups and Districts, at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), held each year in September.

Some members of General Council are elected by Woodcraft’s members at the AGM. Others are elected by the DF movement, and by members in Wales and in Scotland.

The role of General Council, and how it interacts with the rest of the work of Woodcraft Folk, is laid out in detail in the Articles of Association, which can be found on the website.