Woodcraft Folk engages many children, young people and adults across the country, but admit that there are barriers to participation which make engagement difficult such as geographical access to a local group, lack of awareness, anxiety of outdoor education, finance, camping, customs, culture and styles of working to name just a few.
Woodcraft Folk can only achieve education for social change if they grow and include a greater diversity of volunteers, children and young people..
As all Woodcraft Folk activities reopen after COVID lockdowns and restrictions, they believe now is the perfect time to revisit their equality, diversity and inclusion work. Woodcraft Folk Trustees believe a more strategic and organisational approach is needed to support impactful action at a local and national level. As such, Woodcraft Folk Trustees are seeking volunteers to join an Equality Diversity & Inclusion Working Group to undertake an audit of Woodcraft Folk – their youth membership, their volunteers and the barriers to participation. Only once they truly understand who engages and what the barriers are can they begin to address them as a movement.
Trustees celebrate the daily adjustments which take place on a local level to include individual children and young people…adapting games, engaging 121 support, adopting inclusive language, reducing financial barriers and using accessible and safe venues. The charity’s young members are proactively supported to engage in anti-racism activity, to explore Human Rights and inclusion issues. It is this local group activity which influenced young members prioritising diversity and inclusion when they were consulted in the development of Woodcraft Folk’s current strategic plan.
Equality and inclusion isn’t new to Woodcraft Folk. There have been many initiatives, campaigns and toolkits over the years, A commitment to equality has been a strong element in all Woodcraft Folk strategic plans and some great progress has been made with some targeted project activities, for example:
- The Holiday Activities & Food programme delivered in Hammersmith in August 2021 successfully engaged 183 children during the pandemic providing activities and lunch to school aged children who were eligible for free school meals
- Delivering the National Citizen Service programme in Bradford & Leeds from 2012-2015 engaged over 400 young people from Black and minority ethnic communities in Woodcraft Folk style activities
- Project work with the Co-operative Academy Trust, as part of the Green Influencers Scheme has, to date, supported more than 95 young people in green social action. 69% of whom are from BAME backgrounds, and 55% eligible for free school meals, 75% of projects have taken place in areas among the 10% most disadvantaged in England, according to ONS Indices of Multiple Deprivation data.
Looking further back, as an organisation Woodcraft Folk can celebrate the equalities successes achieved during their (nearly) 100 year lifespan…the breaking down of gender stereotypes, youth empowerment, the acceptance of openly gay volunteers working with children, increased understanding of transgender issues and much more.
Inclusive practice can always be improved. Last year’s AGM saw the introduction of a new gender quota for Trustees. In a recent diversity audit of Trustees we celebrated that:
- 42% were not CIS-men
- 33% of Trustees were under 30 years of age
- 17% of Trustees considered themselves to have a disability
- 42% of Trustees had primary caring responsibilities for children
- 42% of Trustees described their sexual orientation as something other than hetrosexual
Volunteers and members of all ages are encouraged to join an active group to oversee a UK diversity audit and to help prioritise action to increase and widen participation. For more information about the Working Group and how you can get involved please click here.
If you are not able to join the Working Group, but would like to share your views on this subject please contact email@example.com