It’s that time of year again…

…for the SSE East Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs project visit. New cohort, new location, old learning manager but same positive outcome. Love it!

This year our host and SSE student was Rose Hoare, of Wheatfen Forest School in Surlingham, nr Norwich, Norfolk who gave us a brief insight into the Forest School concept.


Whilst ours was only a one-off visit, more’s the pity the cry went up, as the Forest School’s ethos is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment.

We were introduced to, amongst other things, the timber hitch and a figure of eight (knots to the uninitiated!), the delights of lying in a hammock under the tree canopy, how to light and maintain a fire safely and toasting marshmallows with scavenged sticks. In addition, it provided us with the luxury of time to reflect and re-connect with that 8 year old that is lurking within us all.

Matt Townsend CEO designate of LEAP and The Feed social enterprise based in Norwich spoke of his social entrepreneurial journey keeping it agile around the smoking bonfire!  Simon Perkins of Lloyds Bank also managed to escape into the woods as part of his mentoring support to Rose. Lovely to have him share the experience.

We were spoiled by SSE student Sara Matthews of Your Gluten Freedom with a ‘free from’ lunch with fellow cohort students, Ali Marlow of Thinking Out Loud, Mary Anne Barclay of Singing for Lung Health, Juliet Ryan of Working Action Group and Jean Hogg of Norwich Film Workshop each facilitating a mini session on their respective social enterprises.  This provided everyone with a greater understanding and insight into their projects.

OK so it was a bit damp and cold but our spirits weren’t dampened as we escaped into this magical oasis called Wheatfen Forest School, if only for a few hours.



Author: Chanel Olding, Learning Manager, Eastern Enterprise Hub.