Steering Group Minutes from 18th March 2021

Annual Statement March 2021



Approved by Diss Community Woodland Project steering group 10 June 2021

1  General management objectives

1.1       The site to be developed as a woodland and open space nature reserve for the benefit of, and by the local community.
1.2       Educational objectives – use of the site will be encouraged as a learning facility for nearby schools, youth groups and the wider community. The community will be encouraged to share and learn woodland skills.
1.3       Training – encourage members to share and achieve an appropriate level of competence to lead woodland activities.
1.4       Health and safety of members and site visitors will be considered at all times, with correct Risk Assessment, Management and Mitigation.
1.5       Accessibility – to make the site accessible to all sectors of the community including those with disabilities.
1.6       Habitat and biodiversity – to protect and enhance the site’s value to wildlife.
1.7       Timing and progress – it is recognised that this is a long term venture and the actual timing of work may vary dependant on funding and other considerations.
1.8       None of the following will be permitted: horse riding, motor cycles, litter, camping, dogs (unless on a lead), dog fouling, bonfires.
1.9       Finance – to plan for expenditure and seek appropriate sources for all significant items. To maximise income from local subscription and other sources with the objective of consolidating the long term capital base.

2  Specific management objectives

2.1       Existing trees – all existing trees including those in the boundary hedges are to be retained. Pruning will only be carried out when considered essential for safety or for the health of the tree.
2.2       Existing hedges will be retained and improved in a manner that will enhance their wildlife habitat value.
2.3       The pond – to be maintained so that it is attractive to wildlife, is visually attractive and to control water level of a suitable quality.
2.4       Existing scrub – some areas are to be retained for their wildlife habitat and then scheduled for later removal once some balancing cover has been provided by new tree growth.
2.5       Long term grassland – Footpaths will continue to be mown seasonally in the long term. Land designated for permanent grassland will be managed for enhancement of wildflowers and other species.
2.6       Procedures, materials, tools and training for planting and other work parties will be developed.
2.7       The 15 m buffer strip adjacent to the residential boundaries will be maintained with shrubs and low trees as agreed with SNC.
2.8       Dead wood and debris – to be retained and piled, where necessary, for wildlife habitat.
2.9       The general management policy will be to encourage wildlife whilst maintaining the agreed community uses.

3  Proposed work for the current year

3.1       Dead hedging to enclose an area of trees from human and animal access.
3.2       Live hedge laying.

Suggestions for coming year:

  • Staged pollarding of suitable trees within the shrub belt.
  • Coppicing
  • Willow working


Child Protection Policy

Reviewed and approved by steering group 10 June 2021

When we work with children, their welfare and safety is paramount at all times. This policy is designed to enable children to enjoy activities with our group within a safe environment.

Children’s activities will normally be led by a school or formal youth group who will be responsible for child protection.  Alternatively, children will be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.

In all cases group members are expected to ALWAYS:

  • Treat everyone with respect and dignity, be sensitive to likes and dislikes
  • Remember that children view adults as role models, so provide a good example of acceptable behaviour. Have plans for dealing with difficult situations.
  • Avoid physical contact unless necessary for health and safety reasons, and respect personal space at all times
  • Remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, however well intentioned
  • Liaise openly with parents and carers, work in an open and transparent way, obtain written parental permission for all activities
  • Listen to and act upon any disclosures/allegations/concerns of child abuse, (see below)


  • Be alone with children at any time
  • Permit abusive behaviour (i.e. bullying, taunting, swearing)
  • Directly supervise children under 9 years of age (who should always be accompanied by a teacher, parent or carer)
  • Show favouritism to any individual
  • Have any inappropriate physical or verbal contact with others
  • Make suggestive remarks or actions, even in jest
  • Believe ‘It could never happen to me’

If a group member suspects that a child is being abused physically, sexually or emotionally, they will follow the guidelines below:

  • Keep calm, try to act normally, allow the child to speak without interruption, accepting what is said, acknowledge with “thank you for telling me”
  • Do not investigate or ask leading questions
  • Do not challenge parents/carers about concerns
  • Never agree to keep a secret
  • Objectively record all details which support the suspicions, sign and date these (i.e. x said “…..”)
  • Pass on details to a teacher/youth group leader or equivalent responsible person

If the Group intends to be responsible for organising an independent activity with unaccompanied children they will: 

  • Ensure that at least one member has received formal child protection training
  • Ensure there is an appropriate ratio of adult leaders to children, having taken advice from a Steering Group member trained in child protection, but never run events with less than 2 adults present. 

Overall responsibility for this policy rests with the Steering Group

The Child Protection Officer is Lindsey Bilston


Policy Statement for Health & Safety

Reviewed and approved by steering group 10 June 2021

Diss Community ‘Woodland Project (DCWP) is responsible for the safety of members, volunteers, children, and the general public who participate in DCWP activities.

In order to meet our obligation, DCWP takes measures to ensure that it:

  • Provides safe working places
  • Develops and maintains safe working systems
  • Ensures that safe equipment is used
  • Gives information and instruction to members and volunteers to help them avoid hazards.
  • Records and monitors Health and Safety performance (including record of incidents)
  • Helps to keep children safe from abuse. (See also the approved Child Protection policy).

We have developed standard risk assessment sheets to be completed for frequent activities as listed below;

  • Working Parties
  • Social events such as barbecues
  • NB – where we act as hosts for school groups, youth groups, etc we specifically request that they are responsible for health and safety risk, and that they prepare their own risk assessment.

All documents are with the DCWP Management Plan, which is reviewed annually.

This Health and Safety Policy is reviewed on an annual basis.

The overall responsibility for this Policy rests with the Steering Group.

The Health and Safety Officer is Andrew Eaglen.


Policy of Fairness and Awareness of Equal Opportunities

Reviewed and approved by steering group 10 June 2021


Diss Community Woodland Project (DCWP) is committed to:

  • The creation and conservation for the public benefit of a woodland and open space.
  • The advancement of environmental education of the public through practical participation.

To support and enhance this work DCWP have adopted the following policy of fairness and equality in respect of all who volunteer or work with us.

DCWP aim to work towards equality of access and opportunity for all trustees, steering group members, volunteers, and others who work or cooperate with us.  DCWP therefore opposes all forms of discrimination against any of the above on any grounds and promotes fair treatment of all stakeholders.

In order to support this declaration DCWP resolves to do the following:

1.  Welcome, recognise, and affirm the rich diversity in society generally.

2.  Actively encourage participation in all DCWP activities from all sections of the community with whom we work.

3.  To monitor and evaluate this participation and to further encourage any sections of the community which are shown not to be participating.

4.  To provide training and guidance to all people directly involved with DCWP activities in order to ensure that this Fairness Awareness Policy is recognised, understood, applied and periodically reviewed.

5.  To make every effort to ensure that our Fairness Awareness Policy is reflected throughout all aspects of our work.



DCWP works to provide access to its activities from people who might want to benefit from them.

DCWP endeavours to work with partners to meet specific needs and overcome barriers to access.

In order that no volunteer is excluded from being able to carry out duties due to financial status, discretionary expenses may be claimed.


All general publicity about activities offered is aimed at the widest possible audience within the localities where DCWP operates.

This does not prevent DCWP directing publicity at certain target groups within the community, if it thinks that it is justified because the groups appear under-represented among its participants.

Publicity material is reviewed for clarity and accessibility.

The activities we offer promote good relations amongst all communities and groups.


This policy and its implementation will be reviewed annually to identify any need for modification or improvement since the previous review.  The Steering Group will also consider whether there is any aspect of the policy that would benefit from specialist advice and seek that if necessary.

DCWP opposes all forms of unfair discrimination including disability (physical or mental), gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, culture/nationality, colour, race, and mental health issues.

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