Forests With Impact logo

Our Story

Born out of companies that care in Cumbria

In 2019, a group of organisations working in Cumbria came together, with the desire to make a difference for the local community and environment.

Looking at their available skills and resources, these pioneering companies realised they could make a significant impact on the social and environmental landscape of the area through a new, innovative collaboration that today has developed into Forests With Impact.

Our Starting Point

The Forests With Impact journey set off with a clear focus on tackling the pressing employment challenges in Cumbria. The region’s breathtaking landscape, whilst undeniably beautiful, also poses challenges. The area’s remote nature makes local commuting more difficult, and as a result, the region’s workforce faces critical skills shortages. This has led to a reliance on workers from outside the area, who return home at the end of the week, taking their earnings with them. This impacts the local economy and hinders sustainable growth. But what if the collaboration could create a project that address these skills shortages, whilst also contributing to the national environmental agenda- harnessing the power of Cumbria’s natural landscape to the benefit of the local community?

Looking For Solutions

Wanting to turn the tide on the current situation and to make this ‘what if’ a reality, the Founding Partners of Forests With Impact began to explore innovative solutions that would offer Cumbria a source of sustainable skills development, whilst putting the region on the map for it’s contribution to national environmental objectives.  It was then that the partners turned their attention to HMP Haverigg, one of the key partners within the collaboration, recognising that the prison offered two invaluable opportunities. Firstly, a building in which to house a Skills Centre, and secondly, five acres of dormant land on the prison estate. The partners decided to explore these opportunities further, and settled on the idea of using the land for tree growth, and the Skills Centre for upskilling both prisoners and members of the local community, held immeasurable potential.

Forests With Impact Today

Following an in-depth consideration of how the project would work in practice, the Forests With Impact programme was born.

‘Forests With Impact’ aims to establish a commercial tree nursery, using the time of prisoners on Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) to grow seedlings to assist carbon-producing industries to meet their tree planting, nature recovery and biodiversity targets. The surplus income made from the commercial tree nursery will be reinvested to provide targeted training and community resources for the prison and the local community. The concept not only tackles local employment and skill development challenges but promises to be a powerful force for environmental change, marking the start of an extraordinary journey toward ecological restoration, community empowerment, and the wellbeing of society at large. 

Founding Partners

Sarah MacGregor

Head of Social Impact

Sunbelt Rentals

Joanne Marsden

Head of Learning and Skills

HMP Haverigg

Jackie Cuthbert

National Business Development Director

Social Impact, Sunbelt Rentals

Emma Johnson

Owner and Director

Mylo Communications

Ruth Sellick

Marketing Manager

Orano Group

Jill Clancy


Jill Clancy Ltd

Barry Collins


Collins McHugh your CSR Partner

James Cobbold


Raise Cumbria Community Forest

James Anderson-Bickley

Partnership and Project leader

Forestry Commission

Join us on this exciting journey to create a greener, safer, and more inclusive world for generations to come.

Sarah MacGregor

“I am driven by the belief we are all part of the situation so must also be part of the solution. We have the choice to do nothing or take meaningful action. This shared belief forms the strong foundation of our collaboration as we work together towards a common agenda for change.

We will create pathways to meaningful careers, generating both a sense of pride and purpose for everyone who participates”

Joanne Marsden

“At HMP Haverigg we lead the way with future focused programmes that enhance the lives of prisoners and the community, helping to rehabilitate and boost the local area. Forests With Impact gives pride and purpose, as well as sustainable careers”

Emma Johnson


Ruth Sellick

“Involved from the start I am passionate about this programme and everything it will achieve”

Jill Clancy

“I am passionate about working collaboratively and know how working in this way helps to realise the potential of individuals, teams and organisations by building great relationships.

Forests With Impact will only succeed if everyone works in a collaborative environment given the number of different organisations and individuals involved in making it a success and I look forward to working with everyone to deliver great outcomes.”

Barry Collins

“I am proud to have been involved with Forests With Impact since its inception, it is an outstanding project that can deliver significant social and environmental benefits”

James Cobbolds

“Cumbria Community Forest are a perfect partnership, both working to support people’s health, wellbeing and opportunities through the process of growing and nurturing trees. It is incredibly rewarding to be part of Forests with Impact, both on behalf of Raise and for me personally.”

James Anderson-Bickley

“Forests With Impact blends perfectly with vision of our organisation and achieves incredible outcomes. To be a part of it is so rewarding”