Tir Coed works with a large number of referral organisations and is rated very highly. The following testimonials from some of these organisations explain why the Tir Coed model is so popular and successful:
Practical skills projects are very beneficial to our client group and a lot of our referrals may not have many skills such as communication and problem solving that can be improved with practical, outdoors projects
Stuart Bradley, Ceredigion Local Education Authority
Local research evidences that a majority of our 16-18 NEET cohort are kinaesthetic learners who have previously disengaged with mainstream education and with post 16 classroom based learning provision. This is a significant rationale to explain why the Tir Coed provision is so important to our disengaged NEET population, it offers a flexible “hands on” approach to learning, which fit’s the needs of a high percentage of this client group
Mike Prichard, Ceredigion Local Education Authority
The activities New Road clients undertake with Tir Coed are vital in their rehabilitation into becoming positive members of the community. New Road has referred three clients this year and the feedback from these clients has been very positive. Opportunities like those Tir Coed offer are few and far between in our rural community in Ceredigion and New Road holds the Tir Coed project in high regard. The work they do with New Road clients is undoubtedly assisting in reducing the cost of crime to the community of Ceredigion.
Neil Davies, Police Officer, Dyfed Powys Police - New Roads
…On one such course I met a young man who was not really doing much with his life, but instantly found a passion for working in wood. After the course I persuaded him to do an apprenticeship at Coppicewood College in traditional rural skills and woodland management. He then came back and assisted me on two Tir Coed courses as a support instructor and now works with me self-employed doing Roundwood timber framing and woodland craft. He has mentioned to me how important coming on that first Tir Coed course has been in giving him a direction and allowing him to follow his passions in the field of wood crafts
Jamie Miller, Activity Instructor
The Powys Youth Justice Service (YJS) has supported young people to participate in two previous Tir Coed projects. We have found that the hands on nature of the work opportunities have found resonance with the needs and abilities of our young clients
Tom Chandler, YJS Powys
We have worked with Tir Coed on several projects and the outcomes for young people has been enormous. By volunteering and taking part in Woodland Projects they feel that they have made a contribution to their community, often for the first time. They work with leaders who teach them the value of respect and team work and they are inspired by role models. As they learn more they become more interested in developing their skills. One of our groups was so keen to spend a day on a Woodland Project that 8 of them carried out a bag pack at Morrisons to raise money to pay for a day Woodland Skills
Miriam Lewis, Rathbone Training
Coleg Ceredigion has worked with Tir Coed for a number of years … and hopes to continue to work with them into the future offering local woodlands for the students to learn important skills. Coleg Ceredigion has had a number of students enrol on the countryside management course who have gained valuable skills through the Agored Cymru units. We have accepted these students who do not have GCSE’s but are suitable due to the experience they have gained with Tir Coed. We also encourage our students to get involved through work experience or by volunteering.
Ian Harries Coleg Ceredigion
I can honestly say that without projects such as VINE, especially in the current economic climate and the rurality of where we live, the young people would suffer. The feedback and interest from the young people I work with has clearly highlighted a genuine need for projects such as VINE to ensure a future for them. I can guarantee you that if VINE gets funded there will be many referrals.
Ruth Spencer Youth Worker, Education Inclusion
As a Youth worker and Project Manager I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact Tir Coed’s work has had on its beneficiaries, particularly those who are recognised as NEET (not in education, employment or training) and can sincerely say that in over twelve years of working with young people I have not come across a more effective medium of engaging the often harder to reach individuals. Many young people that have taken part on previous programmes have displayed issues with drug and alcohol misuse, offending behaviour, depression and rural isolation and I believe that their involvement has helped immensely to overcome many of these issues.
Steve Parkin, Project Manager, Tysul Youth
Rob Smith is a woodland owner and freelance tutor for Tir Coed who worked his way up the Tir Coed model; he recognises the value of woods and the work Tir Coed enables:
From my first training course with Tir Coed I not only began to grasp the complexity of a woodland system but that this was a great resource - a sustainable wood factory, which if managed well could provide us with that most varied and wonderful material, in abundant quantity, year after year. It may sound stupid but the true realisation that wood really did grow on trees was a profound one and something that I see on the faces of volunteers the first time they cleave a fresh piece of ash. This wood is gleaming and flowing and natural - not a bit like that sawn, dry, softwood they give you in woodworking class at school - and that first day I left the training course with my very own turned candle stick I knew I was onto something.
A woodland is a diverse natural system full of birds and bugs, fresh air, ferns and mosses and of course trees - sometimes giant, ancient trees that have stood for hundreds of years. It's a place that reconnects people to what is real and where we really stand. I believe everyone should have some time feeling small in an old wood! To work the wood adds another level to this connection. You become an active part of that elaborate system and get fit and strong in the process. You might start to realise that what we take has to be taken from somewhere, so decisions take time and real thought. Obviously, not everyone is a tree nut like me but the meaningful work and the woodland environment does offer a place that I believe can help or heal anyone, from any walk of life. You can learn new skills, whether it's felling a small tree, making a rustic gate or just learning one or two native tree species, there is always more to learn. You can get out and meet others and become part of a team that can achieve something greater than any individual, and of course have lots of fun in the process. In this modern age of instant decisions and collective intelligence the woodlands and what we get out of them can provide that perspective we so badly need - whether we know it or not
Rob Smith, Freelance tutor