...is movement for children and young people, open to everyone from birth to adult. We offer a place where children will grow in confidence, learn about the world and start to understand how to value our planet and each other. At Woodcraft Folk we believe passionately in equality and co-operation: everyone is welcome to join our groups. Every week thousands of volunteers and young people meet in school halls, community venues and a host of other places to learn about big ideas through fun activities like singing, camping, playing and debating.
Our aim is to have great fun, but also to try to develop children’s self-confidence and build their awareness of society around them.
- To understand important issues like the environment, world debt and global conflict.
- Developing activities focused on sustainable development.
- To encourage children to think, hoping that they will help build a peaceful, fairer world.
Find out more about how Woodcraft Folk works here.
Eastern region projects
Woodcraft Folk's Eastern Region is made up of 24 groups, gathered into 10 Districts.
There's an Eastern Region Gathering each year, where members come together to make plans for the coming year, and celebrate the values and activities we have in common.
Within the Eastern Region, Suffolk is home to Darsham Country Centre, the Woodcraft Folk-run centre that's housed in an old station building - where the train still stops! Woodcraft groups from all over the UK love staying at Darsham and making trips to the coast, Walberswick and Minsmere bird reserve.
Venturers in Norwich recently created a postcard to promote their group - the banner above is taken from their design.
If you live in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire and would like to be part of a Woodcraft Folk, click here to find your local group.
New Groups Project Eastern was started up in June 2017 with funding from the Government and the Big Lottery Fund. The project is focused on working with existing groups in the region as well as setting up new groups - finding new volunteers and young people to be involved. The funding is aimed at young people age 10-18 - so mainly setting up new Pioneer (10-12) and venturer (13-15) groups.
Many of the roles we'll be recruiting for will be for this project, so find out more here and follow us on icanbea... for updates - or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out where and how you could get involved.
What we do
Our name refers to the skill of living close to nature, in the open air - we don't make a habit of hugging trees though occasionally we have been known to craft things out of wood and we do encourage all our members to come and camp with us.
What we get up to
In our weekly groups we play games, sing, take part in drama, discussions, projects and crafts, and learn about local and global issues in a fun, entertaining way. Activities might include:
- A night walk for younger children so they can experience the sounds of a wood, park or city in the dark
- Making lanterns to light round a campfire
- Playing Capture the Flag in the park until our young teens have burned off all their energy
- Going swimming and playing games in the pool
- Cooking - a good opportunity to learn about Fair Trade food and how it affects farmers
Learning about the world
About once a term we will talk about an issue at levels that match the age of the children and young people, to help them explore the world around them. This could be something to do with the environment, or why an election is important and what the different parties stand for.
We organise hostelling and camping weekends throughout the year and camping is a large focus in the summer holidays. Woodcraft Folk groups from across a town, region and sometimes across the UK come together for summer camps, where members of all ages take responsibility for cooking, cleaning and organising activities.
Many of our young people join international camps and exchanges too.
To check the dates of our upcoming activities and camping, please click here.
A bit different from other groups
Woodcraft Folk groups are run co-operatively, with children, young people and adults working together to learn about the world and develop skills and confidence. Woodcraft members are united by our shared values of peace, co-operation, and equality.
Woodcraft Folk costume is a green top with our logo. Children can choose to wear the traditional green shirt, “woodie hoodies” or t-shirts designed by young members. These are available to purchase from Folk Supply.
We believe our organisation provides an informal and supportive environment for young people to develop their ideas, share experiences, explore opportunities and make life-long friends locally and beyond.
To find out about becoming a member see our Join Woodcraft Folk page.
Our group nights usually last between one and two hours, depending on the age of the children or young people. They are run by adult volunteers, parents and young people.
We divide our groups by age:
- Under sixes are known as Woodchips
- Six to nine year olds are known as Elfins
- Ten to twelve year olds are Pioneers
- Thirteen to fifteen year olds are Venturers
- And our DFs (or District Fellows) are sixteen to twenty. They are more autonomous and usually arrange their own activities as well as helping with the younger groups.
Children contribute their ideas and are encouraged to make suggestions for activities, camps and group trips. Groups may charge a small fee or ask for a small donation to help pay venue and activity costs and to cover registration with the national charity. Please, contact your local group for details.
How many groups are there?
We currently have about 400 groups meeting around the country, mainly in urban areas, and increasingly more are in rural areas.
To find your nearest local group, have a look at the Woodcraft Folk map.
If you can't find a group near you and are interested in setting up a new one, please have a look at the new group area of the website.
How do you start volunteering with Woodcraft Folk?
It’s really easy!
Have a read of our Volunteer Guide to find out more about how Woodcraft Folk works and the range of ways to get involved.
Check out our online map to find a group near to you and contact them directly to see if they need new volunteers.
To find a group near you, see our online map. Why not contact a group directly to see if you can volunteer.
Or fill in an expression of interest form to let us know where you’re based and what types of activities you’re interested in. We’ll get back to you with more information and put you in touch with volunteer co-ordinators in your area.
What support is available for volunteers?
We are committed to supporting our volunteers, and offer:
- A welcome pack to new volunteers when you join
- Resources for new volunteers
- Training to develop new skills and ensure all our volunteers feel confident in their roles.
- Expenses to cover travel or equipment costs, as agreed with the group, district or project you volunteer with
- Public Liability cover
- A youth mentoring scheme to support volunteers in new roles
If you set up a new group, you can request a new group buddy
What would be expected of me?
We ask our volunteers to:
- Become a member of Woodcraft Folk, agreeing to follow the aims and principles
- Understand and follow the Woodcraft Folk code of conduct
- Understand and follow the policies and procedures relevant to your role, including safeguarding
- Undertake relevant training when necessary
Woodcraft Folk has a volunteer policy, which gives further detail and is important reading for new and existing volunteers. Click here to find out more.
Why volunteer with Woodcraft Folk?
Volunteering with us could give you the chance to work with young people, support a local community organisation, attend exciting, amazing events…and much more besides. It can be inspiring, enriching and life-changing.
So, why not get started? Click here to enquire about volunteering with Woodcraft Folk