Urgent! Our off-grid woodland community is facing eviction after 16 years of low-impact existence...
Our activities both on and off site contribute enormously to the social and economic well-being of this area, and we are able to do so while living with a much-reduced ecological footprint than average (as affirmed by an independent report) and having a positive effect on the local biodiversity (recently affirmed by an officer of the Devon Wildlife Trust).
Through our courses, open days, volunteer weeks and educational visits, more than a thousand people visit each year to learn about and participate in sustainable living, permaculture, and nature connection. This is making a vital educational contribution in these challenging times.
Our community has a significant positive effect on the local community through the many activities and groups we are involved within Moretonhampstead and the local area, such as the Moreton Development Trust, the primary school, community projects and events.
In short, Steward Community Woodland is a success story and an asset to the local area. Our project is meeting its Aims and is fulfilling DNPA policies as well as the National Planning Policy Framework. We know that we are demonstrating much needed solutions to the huge environmental challenges we face, because we live those solutions every single day...
We want to say thank you for supporting us - even though you don't need to claim one to make a contribution, do take a look at the array of perks we have on offer! We've even got a few more up our sleeves for when these ones have all been used up - everyone in the community has pulled together to provide you with these amazing goodies and experiences and rewards. During the campaign, we'll be posting more about them on the blog at save.stewardwood.org so make sure you're signed up there to receive updates...
Why we need £38,000
It's a lot of money, to us and no doubt to you too. Here's how it breaks down:
- £23,000 - lawyer's fees - we'll tell you more about our amazing legal team ofDavid Stephens and Laila Jhaveri in a blog post during the campaign, but they've agreed to represent us at a much-reduced fee and have a fantastic track-record, having worked with Tinker's Bubble in Somerset and Landmatters in Devon in the past. We're delighted and proud to have them working for us
- £1,000 approximately - legal expenses - these are expenses the lawyers pay on our behalf then bill us for later
- £10,000 approximately - fees and expenses of our expert witnesses (four witnesses giving evidence on the legal issues, permaculture, woodland management, and local support)
- £6,000 - crowdfunding expenses (including getting our film made, leaflets printed, perks, organising the crowdfunder, PayPal fees and so on)
Some of these amounts may be less than we anticipate when it comes to the crunch, but we need to have ourselves covered.
What happens if we don't get the full £38,000?
If we fail to get the full funding we hope for from the project, we'll at least be in a better position to put our case than we would be without it. We're so hoping that we can get the full amount, but if we don't, we'll still go ahead with the appeal, although we won't be able to present such a strong case and so our chances of winning are that much lower - we will do our utmost to get to our target, however much work that proves to be...
What happens if we get more than £38,000?
If we do better than we dream of, there are two main areas in which we need funds:
- If we succeed in our bid to stay, we'd love to get on with other parts of this
project - for example, we have plans for a turf-roofed Roundhouse
Interpretation Centre, a disabled accessible Composting Toilet, and a
Polytunnel. If we can stay, there's so much we could do!
- If we fail (and while we're trying not to think about it, we have to) then we're going to need funds to take whatever the next steps are - it's far too early to say what the next steps would be, but we'll need funds for those.