The Community Woodlands Association (CWA) and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) are seeking to create a database of retired and working foresters who would be willing to voluntarily mentor Scottish community groups on the forest management aspects of their projects, and act as a 'sounding board' for community groups to help them make informed decisions on what forestry management inputs they require from the private sector.

Whilst many community woodland groups employ forestry managers and/or consultants directly, not all are in a position to do so, especially early on in their development when they may have very limited resources. Once established, smaller groups may be operating at a level where they occasionally need an hour or two's advice, or they may require independent assistance, e.g. when preparing contract briefs, or evaluating tenders.

Mentors will not seek to substitute for professional forest advice but to enable community groups to be better informed users of professional forestry expertise and to feel confident in so doing. The scheme is not intended to displace professional forestry advisers but to encourage greater use of professional expertise by understanding the benefits of so doing.

How it will work:
·         CWA will manage a database of mentors which will be made available to prospective community groups
·         The prospective community group reviews the database to find a suitable mentor
·         Mentor and community group agree ‘terms of engagement’ and inform CWA & FCS of the proposed relationship and likely claim for expenses.
·         FCS will pay expenses (i.e. travel & necessary subsistence) for the mentor on confirmation of site visits being made