By Gil Carter, liveryman

On one the hottest days of the year 20 Furniture Makers and guests celebrated what for many was the first social gathering of the Company since March 2020.

The occasion was a visit to the Sylva Foundation in Oxfordshire. During lockdown we had a webinar presentation from Joe Bray, head of the Wood School, which had enthused us to visit the Foundation.

The Foundation is a fascinating environmental charity aiming to explore and optimise the relationship between people and nature to ensure a sustainable future. It does this by demonstrating how woodlands are relevant to modern society and offers a vast range of experiences, facilities and knowledge to everyone from school children to established wood practitioners.

Our hosts were Joe and operations director Paul Orsi. The morning was spent exploring the Future Forest Project aiming to anticipate future woodland management brought about by climate change, pest and diseases, followed by a visit to the Anglo Saxon House, a recreation project on the site of archeological remains.

After lunch we toured the Wood School and associated buildings where aspiring craftspeople and designers are encouraged to share and learn from collaborative opportunities. In the short time available we could not do justice to the vast range of activities and initiatives being undertaken.

The visit provided inspiration and assurance to see that such work is supporting the future of our industry, and importantly to renew the fellowship of friends in the Company as we look forward to a brighter future after a difficult year.

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