About Llais y Goedwig

Llais y Goedwig is proud to be the voice of community woodlands in Wales. We are a 300 member strong grassroots network. Llais y Goedwig aims to represent & support community groups & practitioners across Wales.

Directors & Staff


Liz Liz Mutch – Network Coordinator  As Network Coordinator Liz is the all-round support that keeps the network and its board of Directors talking, sharing and doing. This can take many guises, from being the main point of contact for members for enquiries,signposting to useful resources, and support to organising National Gatherings and local skill share events. She has a background in environmental marketing and communications, a passion for community meddling and development work; empowering people to make a change in their local communities.  Email Liz 
Maria Wilding [320x200] Maria Wilding – Communications and Development Officer  covering external partnerships, management of the Forestry Hub, and developing new projects and income streams.

Maria has a background working in Community Forestry in South Yorkshire, and supporting Social Enterprise in Wales. She coordinated the Llais y Goedwig input into the Startree FP7 project looking at Non Wood Forest Products and multi purpose trees and their potential to contribute to rural development.

Email Maria

Sasha Sasha Ufnowska – Llais y Goedwig Capacity Building Officer is based in Bridgend and her job is to help to raise the profile of community woodlands by working with new and established community woodland groups in South Wales, to support their development and build their capacity by providing ‘on the ground’ assistance. She has experience of woodland and conservation management, environmental community projects, supporting the creation of community groups and social enterprises, practical conservation skills as well as a background in producing woodland craft products and running training workshops. Sasha has worked in conservation and woods since 2005 after becoming a project officer for BTCV (Now TCV). She has been running her own bush craft training company since 2009 and is a qualified forest school’s leader and trustee of Forest School Wales. She also helped to set up a ‘Glamping’ style yurt campsite in woodland as a social enterprise in Bridgend, South Wales which won the EPIC Award for Best Social Enterprise in Wales as well as Best New Social Enterprise award in 2015.Email Sasha 
 photo Sara Wynne – Pari, Llais y Goedwig Capacity Building Officer for North Wales. A first language Welsh speaker, Sara joined the team in January 2016. Her role is to help build sufficient capacity amongst organisations and Community Woodland Groups in North Wales to encourage, support and sustain vibrant community woodlands.Sara recently returned to North Wales after five years in Cardiff as the Environment Wales Development Officer for Cynnal Cymru. Part of her role was to develop pro-environmental behaviour change projects which trialed ways to reduce the impacts of climate change. She previously worked for Snowdonia National Park Authority and the Llyn Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty managing the Sustainable Development Scheme where she supported applicants to develop a range of funded projects. She also has over 10 years’ experience of supporting volunteer organisations with governance, project management and funding. Sara is passionate about helping to empower and inspire communities to become more resilient. Email Sara.
Damian Assinder photo Damian Assinder – Llais y Goedwig Treasurer 

Damian was born and raised in Gwent’s Ebbw Fach Valley, and currently resides on the banks of the Rhymney River, a stones throw from Parc Penallta. He has a background in project design/management and community regeneration and has been employed for over two decades with Blaenau Gwent Council. Damian has been involved in the design and management of many projects, urban and rural, ranging from land reclamation, afforestation, urban/public spaces, landscaping, to public art, access improvements and woodland management projects. Some have resulted in the creation of community woodlands and some designated as Local Nature Reserves. He has played a major role in teams which have transformed areas scarred by the former iron, coal and steel industries, into the beautiful valley landscapes we see today. In his spare time he is usually outdoors walking (or running) along the Taff Trail or when the weather is inclement, in the gym. He is also a tenor in Abertillery Male Voice Choir, and an active trade unionist. Email Damian

Fay Sharpley [320x200] Fay Sharpley – Llais y Goedwig Director  

Fay Sharpley bought her way onto the LlyG Board the traditional way, with cakes and sweets. Such sweet-talking leaves her as the last of the original board to survive the course. She doesn’t know what that means (but can make a few guesses). Before moving to the Brechfa Forest area in 2005, Fay worked in Further Education and the Careers Service in a counselling and support role with adults. Despite intending to lead a quiet life, within a year she had set up a small bakery and became well and truly immersed in community life. This led to her supporting the set up in 2001 of Pobl y Fforest, a social enterprise which has refurbished a redundant forestry building and leases a small area of adjoining woodland from NRW. This in turn led to her co-founding Llais y Goedwig. She is also very involved in her local volunteer run community shop, so the quiet life is currently on hold.Email Fay

 ian_dir Ian Thomas – Llais y Goedwig Director

Ian reportedly joined the board to get more of Fays fantastic home made cake, but also to share his experience of working with the Rhondda Community on the NRW and Big Lottery funded social forestry project Welcome to our Woods.Having the opportunity of working with the Welcome to our Woods partnership based in Treherbert South Wales Valleys (where he was born and lives today), he has become extremely confident of a positive and productive future for community woodland groups across Wales. Ian believes community woodland groups can play a vital role in protecting and helping our communities and landscape face the future challenges being presented to us all.Ian is a construction trade carpenter and hobbyist green woodworker. A keen medicinal herb forager and hill walker, his favourite past time is trying to get very very lost in woodlands, mountains and other outdoor spaces with his family and friends. Other interests are permaculture gardening, social justice, history, social entrepreneurship and appropriate scale green energy generation.  Email Ian

   Will Westwood – Llais y Goedwig Director

Will works as woodland ranger for the National Trust around Bangor in north Wales. This varied role means that no two days are the same so Will is always on his toes ready for the next challenge.  His interest in woodland management started with stint as a volunteer  with community woodland Golygfa Gwydyr. He then worked for Golygfa Gwydyr as well as timber co-op Elwy Working Woods and still volunteers occasionally with Moelyci  Woodland Group. Will is a strong proponent of community woodlands as he has first hand seen the benefits they can give to people and the environment. His other interests are traditional and sustainable building, getting out in the mountains, weird and wonderful music, fixing things rather than throwing them away and social history.

 Jayne Hunt – Llais y Goedwig Director 

Jayne currently works for the Welsh Perry & Cider Society as a Heritage Project Manager, see www.welshcider.co.uk/heritage to find out more. Her background is in Environmental Education, she worked as a lecturer for over a decade at the University of Wales, Newport, then at the University of South Wales. Jayne is passionate about working with  communities and woodlands; she is interested particularly interested in the social side of woodlands and how they  can benefit people’s health and well being.  Jayne is also a trained Forest School Leader. Other interests include gardening, ESDGC- Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship, feminism, baking, orchards, music and mountain biking.

 DSC01132  Chris Harris – Llais y Goedwig Director

 After varied and busy career in leisure management in Kent which included beach cleaning initiatives, a partnership with the Kent Wildlife Trust and working with The Marine Conservation Society. Chris now runs his own cottage let business and is still heavily involved in conservation;  including volunteering for RSPB Cymru in Membership Development, working from Bwlch Nant Yr Arian with Red Kites, a volunteer coordinator for the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Project, and a volunteer for Denmark Farm and the Vincent Wildlife Trust. Chris has been involved with Coed Y Bont community woodland, Pontrhydfendigaid from its inception in 2008. Chris is involved in all areas of the woodland, including the Wildlife Group and Work Party and has been influential in funding projects. He has sales and membership development experience, and was on the Board of Directors for NATUR until recently.

Marit Parker – Llais y Goedwig Director

Marit grew up near Aberystwyth climbing trees, lighting fires and building dens in the woods. She is a Welsh speaker and works as a support worker, and particularly enjoys enabling people to be creative and active outdoors. She is a member of the Women’s Permaculture Guild, teaching Social Justice and Decolonisation in their online course, and has also been a member of the co-ordinating group of Paramaethu Cymru / Permaculture Wales for several years. Volunteers, especially Welsh learners, are  welcome on her small hill farm in the South Wales valleys, where she is restoring hedges and re-establishing the ffridd. Her interests include hiking, which she needs to do more of after eating Fay’s cakes.


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