Alison Hunter, Trustee
Alison is a senior HR professional with over 20 years of human resources and organisational development experience, in media, publishing and the public sector. As a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, Alison is committed to promoting the development of others and enhancing employment opportunities and experiences for everyone. She often presents about the effect that a strong corporate conscience and social wellbeing strategy can have on people’s working lives.
Having worked closely with Felix Dennis, founder of the Heart of England Forest, on both his personal and business personnel matters, Alison gained a unique insight into the vision and ambitions of Felix’s idea for the charity and the significant impact the Forest will have on both the environment and on the lives of future generations.
As a trustee of the Heart of England Forest since October 2013, Alison is passionate about ensuring that Felix’s legacy lives on not only in the local community, but also on a national scale.
Q&A with Alison
When did you become a trustee?
Why did you choose to give your time and get involved with the charity?
I was lucky enough to work for Felix Dennis - the founder of the Heart of England Forest – so have known about the charity since its conception. After walking through the fledgling Forest and seeing its potential to positively impact the environment and local community, I wanted to dedicate some of my time and energy to such a great cause.
I also have a great affinity for the outdoors and the benefits it has for health and wellbeing, so having the opportunity to work with the charity as a trustee and promote its vital work is a genuine privilege.
What expertise do you bring to the trustee role?
I have decades of professional human resources experience, so bring expertise in relationship building, resource planning, and cultural development within organisations. I am also committed to promoting the development of others and enhancing employment opportunities for everyone, no matter what their background is.
What aspect of the charity’s work interests you the most?
I am most interested in the investment and progress we are making in our Learning and Skills provision, especially in providing outdoor learning for the younger generation and introducing them to the wonders of the natural environment.
The location of the Forest near Redditch, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Birmingham, means there is huge potential to make a difference to the education of our children through our schools programme, Young Foresters group, and the other clubs and activities that the charity runs.
How do you think the Heart of England Forest is making the most difference?
Our Forest is growing and we are over 20% of the way towards our achieving our vision! We can make the most difference through the impact of the scale and rate of our planting, and how we nurture, protect, and grow England’s largest native broadleaf woodland. We may not get to see the impact it will make to the environment, landscape, and our local and national communities during our lifetime, but what a lasting legacy for future generations to be a part of!
What are the challenges facing the charity over the next 12 months?
With our continued ambition and plans for growth we need to ensure we are attracting the very best talent in the market; but it has become a highly competitive environment for expertise in all areas of recruitment, especially those with niche specialist skills.
What 3 words would you use to describe the work of the Forest?
Inspiring, remarkable, ground-breaking.
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