What is the Hedgerley Wood Trust?
The Hedgerley Wood Trust is a small UK charity based in Oxfordshire that uses innovative and traditional media to educate the public about worldwide problems relating to public health, society and the environment – like hunger, poverty, disease, the need for education, the impact on health of inequality, and the protection of the natural environment.
How did the Hedgerley Wood Trust begin?
The Trust was founded by Peter Armstrong and Anuradha Vittachi on 9 August 2013, in loving memory of the work and values of their youngest daughter, Boo Armstrong. Boo cared deeply about the health of people and the planet, and the Trust commemorates and sustains her vision.
Is the Trust a registered charity?
Yes. UK registered charity number 1153322.
Please note: HWT is not a grant-giving trust.
What are the Trust’s activities?
Hedgerley Wood Trust Annual Report
What are the Trust’s values?
Hedgerley Wood Trust set out its organisational values at its summer board meeting in July 2019, where trustees agreed that the organisation’s decisions should be made with these values in mind:
- Openness: we value listening, receiving not pushing, and new ways of doing things.
- Sharing/Generosity/Reciprocity: we will act generously and use our initiatives to encourage and inspire others to act similarly. We believe that generosity is catching.
- Joy: we think there cannot be too much joy in the world, and that all work to address social and environmental ills, serious as they are, could benefit from a greater injection of joy. We think that joy attracts energy towards itself, and is thus renewable, although we may sometimes only feel capable of aspiring to it!
- Not-heroic: culture in the West tends towards the hierarchical, with an emphasis on strong leaders and heroes to solve our problems. We value the non-heroes among us, those working together, quietly and humbly, to make change. We celebrate vulnerability and think that showing our vulnerability can actually be powerful, helping shift dynamics and open up possibilities.
- Empathy: we aim to embed empathy into all that we do; seeking to consider others’ stances from their perspectives and stand in their shoes. Thus we value compassion and caring.
- Belonging: we see that much ill has come from groups of people being rejected, or feeling rejected. We aim for our work to cultivate a sense of belonging among those who feel marginalised. We aim to create a sense of community.
- What If?: we want to create a sense of possibility through our work and the work that we support. We believe another world is possible. We value big-picture thinking, a willingness to try the unconventional, and a sense of being bold, pioneering and imagining.
- Quality and depth: we value craft, quality, depth and thoroughness. We do not think change happens through sheer quantity of work.
We hope these values reflect those held and lived by Boo Armstrong, in whose memory the trust was founded.
HWT’s climate policy
The Hedgerley Wood Trust’s 2020 Carbon Audit showed that the assets of the Trust drew down far more carbon* than the work of the Trust emitted. The Trustees are committed to ensuring the Trust remains not just a ‘Net Zero’ but a ‘Below-Zero’ organisation. The Trust’s Climate Policy is designed to enable Trustees to monitor our negative carbon balance closely and regularly and to increase it wherever feasible.
[* ‘Carbon’ is used here to mean ‘carbon equivalent’ and includes all greenhouse gases.]
Hedgerley Wood Trust
All trustees, staff and volunteers will respect – and, where feasible, will further reduce – their carbon footprint when engaged in HWT work.
- In relation to transport, this includes by:
- minimising travel, especially air travel, by using digital conferencing tools
- when travel is unavoidable, favouring the use of public over private transport
- favouring vehicles powered by renewable energy: e.g. electric cars, hydrogen buses
- In relation to the technology we work with, including by:
- learning the carbon costs incurred by the use of its technology (e.g. computers, cameras, web hosting)
- learning its embodied carbon costs
- In relation to other energy and resource use, this includes by:
- digitising information to save paper
- recycling waste materials
- using renewable energy for heating and lighting board meetings and HWT-hosted public gatherings
- The Trust’s Below-Zero climate officer has responsibility for conducting an annual Carbon Audit that includes:
- an assessment of the Trust’s current carbon footprint
- a review of progress in embedding agreed modifications to management systems for reducing the Trust’s carbon footprint
- researching and proposing further modifications
- Although the Trust’s Climate Policy focuses on facing the climate crisis, and mitigating and adapting to its consequences, the Trust encourages all trustees, staff and volunteers to understand also the broader, overlapping nature crisis, including by:
- heightening our awareness of nature through increased personal engagement
- researching the work of nature experts as well as climate experts
- exploring our psychological responses to the twin climate/nature crises to help us and others face reality and avoid disavowal and denial
- learning how to build resilience at personal, community, national and global levels in the face of escalating climate/nature catastrophes.
Who governs the Trust?
There are five trustees. The founding trustees are Peter Armstrong and Anuradha Vittachi. We share an interest in public and planetary health, equality, and how empathy connects people to one another and to the natural world.
Peter Armstrong, global pioneer in interactive media
- As a documentary-maker at the BBC, he founded award-winning series on global values, including Everyman and Global Report.
- In 1983 he initiated the Domesday Project, the world’s first user-generated multimedia initiative, involving a million citizens.
- In 2004, the British Academy for Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awarded Peter a platinum Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in interactive multimedia.
- With Anuradha Vittachi, he co-founded OneWorld in 1994-5, the world’s first portal on human rights and sustainable development, where he pioneered OneWorld TV, the Open Knowledge Network and Mobile4Good, a range of mobile phone-based services empowering the poorest communities in Africa and India.
- In 2013, he co-founded the Hedgerley Wood Trust, a charity dedicated to the health of the planet and its people.
Anuradha Vittachi, people’s media pioneer
- Anuradha fled her native Sri Lanka aged 12, after her journalist family was subjected to political persecution for exposing human rights abuses: an attempt to silence truth-telling writers that triggered her lifelong conviction in the centrality of responsible media for responsible governance.
- She was the UK’s civil society delegate to the G8 Summit (2000-1) taskforce on closing the global digital divide, and recognized by the LSE as a ‘global civil society pioneer’. Her internationally published articles and books include Earth Conference One on global survival and Stolen Childhood on the abuse of child rights worldwide.
- She is an award-winning documentary-maker, teacher, speaker at prestigious international conferences on education, development, and media, and has served on the NSPCC and ODI boards.
- With Peter Armstrong, she co-founded the multi-award-winning OneWorld (1994-5), where she pioneered OneWorld Radio, OneClimate, and OneWorld UK. In 2013, she co-founded HWT.
Emma Chown, lawyer
- Emma worked originally in publishing and media, in both the private and charitable sectors, often taking roles which involved research and writing.
- She subsequently converted into the law and qualified as a solicitor in 1992, working in a City law firm where she specialised in intellectual property litigation.
- After doing an LLM in environmental law, Emma went part-time in her law firm and did project work for Friends of the Earth, Earth Action and OneWorld. She also lectured on environmental law at Roehampton University.
- Emma now works as a senior editor for Practical Law at Thomson Reuters, drafting and publishing documents for practising lawyers.
- Emma’s first degree was in French, and she has lived in France and Belgium for several years. She now lives in Brighton with her husband and son.
- Emma was one of the three original trustees of HWT, together with Anuradha and Peter.
- Florence is currently Director of the Environmental Funders Network, a charity that serves to improve the effectiveness of environmental philanthropy and increase support for environmental causes. She has been at EFN since moving to the UK from the United States in 2012.
- While in the US, Florence she ran a conservation grant-making programme at the National Audubon Society called TogetherGreen. Prior to that she was director of educational programmes at a not-for-profit called Center for Whole Communities, in Vermont, which brings together leaders from the environmental and social justice fields to find common ground and shared values.
- Early in her career she worked for World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C., after doing a master’s in environmental science at the School of Forestry and Environmental Science at Yale University.
- Florence lives with her husband, Bill Finnegan, and three young children in a village in Buckinghamshire.
Bill Finnegan, filmmaker and web developer
- Bill is a founding partner of Tamarack Media Cooperative, which has helped hundreds of environmental organisations navigate the changing digital and social media landscape.
- Bill’s experience in television and feature documentary production includes time at Interlock Media, Smash Entertainment Group, Cross Current Productions, and Pincus & Small Films. His work has been presented at film festivals around the world and broadcast on US public television and BBC Radio 4.
- From 2006 to 2012 Bill served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the DREAM Program, a mentoring organization affiliated with AmeriCorps. Bill currently serves as a trustee of the Heartland Alliance International-Europe.
- Bill received the 2007 New Voices award from J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, a 2010 TogetherGreen Fellowship from National Audubon Society and Toyota, and the 2016 Director’s Award from the North American Association for Environmental Education.
The advisory panel
The trustees are advised by a distinguished panel of experts.
- Simon Maxwell
Chair, Climate & Development Knowledge Network
- Chris Robertson
Co-founder Re-vision, educational psychotherapist specializing in ecopsychology
- Dr Joe Smith
Professor of Environment and Society at The Open University
- Dr Ros Taylor, MBE
National Director for Hospice Care, Hospice UK
How is the Trust funded?
It is funded by work done by the trustees, sometimes working with others, on behalf of the Trust. It will also accept donations, though it does not actively fundraise.