Hello fellow coppice workers,

What strange times we find ourselves in. I’m sure you don’t need more advice on how best to deal with this situation, so I will try not to give you any!

However, being a rather solitary profession on the whole I’d like to think that in many ways we will find the challenges ahead easier to bear than some other trades. Not in monetary terms, but in healthy isolation terms. And what better place to be, in the woods, on your own, in the spring!

Personally, my work is not stopping, orders have not been cancelled, and I’m still getting new enquiries. I hope this is the case for everybody out there. There is one thing for certain, people will be spending a lot more time at home, in their gardens, isolating themselves. Some people may spend more time in their gardens than ever before! If there is one thing WE do, it’s to help people make their gardens look beautiful. We all have an opportunity here, to help with other people’s quality of life and with keeping them sane.

More than ever, people will be looking to grow their own food – National Beanpole Week is just around the corner. The demand may be high. This SHOULDN’T mean the price goes up – all that may do is encourage more people to go to the woods to cut their own!

Many people are wanting to carry out projects in their gardens during isolation. We can supply them with the materials and knowhow.

But with shows and events being cancelled for the foreseeable future, a traditional method of reaching our customer base has evaporated. Many of us have an on-line presence already. This will become more important than ever during these times. But there will be many amongst us who do not tinker with such devilry. You will know who they are. Keep an eye out. Keep trade between us alive. It would be a shame for both us, our customers, and not least for biodiversity if we come out of this smaller.

I expect to have a quieter summer. I hope I’m wrong! But I WILL be spending any ‘spare’ time developing my on-line presence, improving my workshop, thinking about business direction, and doing all those things that we all put off because we are too busy. By doing these things you may come out the other side stronger.

As far as NCFed is concerned, I hope to increase the number of directors and reps meetings during this period. There is a lot going on in the background which needs agreeing and actioning. And I’m sure we will all be desperate for the social interaction on Skype (other services available) conference calls!

There will soon be separate messages regarding Beanpole Week and the NCFed Gathering and AGM 2020 amongst other issues. We will also be following the latest Government guidance and help for self-employed people and small businesses. The Cleft Stick Newsletter will still be coming out late April as scheduled.

Good luck and keep busy. I didn’t say the C word once!

Dave Jackson
Chair, NCFed