Who are the Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum and what do we do?
The Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum is a charity that supports Forestry England in its management of Bedgebury. Formed in 1993 by a group of volunteers passionate about the Pinetum, it was initially run entirely by volunteers to help look after Bedgebury, raise its profile in the wider world and organise fundraising activities so that the site could be improved.
As Bedgebury and the charity have grown, the charity's remit has changed and grown too, and paid employees have now joined the team of trustee volunteers. The Friends’ team is now responsible for managing Bedgebury’s annual membership scheme, running the Visitor Centre shop, offering Pinetum engagement events, employing the site’s seasonal agency staff and for raising funds, from supporters and other grant-making bodies, for learning, engagement and work in the Pinetum.
To find out more about the Friends, read our aims and objectives and have a look at our past AGM minutes. If you are a member, join us at our next AGM and ask questions of those responsible for Bedgebury.
We now have more than 5,000 household members who value everything about Bedgebury, not just the Pinetum. Annual membership offers your household free admission for one car to Bedgebury during normal working hours, 364 days a year. And there are many other benefits of membership!
Each year, the Friends offer grants to Forestry England for projects and activities across the site. Without Friends' funding, there would be no nursery to grow seeds from Bedgebury's seed-collecting trips, the Visitor Centre would be missing its atrium information boards, accessible toilet, woodchip boiler and the education room that is used for school visits and children’s activities. Without your contributions, several of the children’s play areas and cycle trails would be missing. We also provide funding towards the site's seasonal guides, walking trails, signs and interpretation, and we help schools come to Bedgebury to learn. In short, our work has enabled people to learn about, support and connect with the Pinetum and forest in all sorts of ways!
Bedgebury is a not-for-profit site. Friends’ fundraising efforts are therefore making an important contribution to your Bedgebury experience.