About Llais y Goedwig

Llais y Goedwig is proud to be the voice of community woodlands in Wales. We are a 400 member strong grassroots network. Llais y Goedwig aims to represent & support community groups & practitioners across Wales.

Directors & Staff

Llais y Goedwig staff team

Maria Wilding [320x200] Maria Wilding, Programme Manager

Maria has a remit to oversee Llais y Goedwig’s current funded projects ‘Voice of the Woodlands’ and ‘Dewis Gwyllt’, as well as to develop new partnerships and funding streams that will help support and develop Community Woodland groups in Wales. Maria has worked for Llais y Goedwig for six years, initially on the Startree Project, and then as Communications and Development Officer with the ESD Core Funded progamme. Her past experience combines community woodland support, project management and social enterprise development.

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Sasha Sasha Ufnowska, Senior Development Officer

Sasha 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 joined Llais y Goedwig in 2016  bringing 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.

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Zena Wilmot, Network Facilitator

The Network Facilitator covers membership, communication and events. Zena is based in Mid Wales and has a background in biology, research and social forestry. She is a founding member of the Bodfrigan Housing Coop where she keeps bees, chickens and rescue hedgehogs!

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Beki Price, Programme Support Officer

Born and raised in Aberystwyth, it is not surprising that Beki loves the outdoors; forests and starry nights being at the top of her list. Having worked in a variety of fields, she loves nothing more than putting things in order and helping people out, which is why she is the key to the smooth running of Llais y Goedwig and the ‘Voice of the Woodlands’ project, bringing strong administration, organisation and finance skills to the role, and helping out wherever needed.

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Sara Wynne – Pari, North West Wales Development Officer 

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 East Wales to encourage, support and sustain vibrant community woodlands. Sara also works part-time with Social Farms & Gardens. She previously worked for Cynnal Cymru, Snowdonia National Park Authority and the Llyn Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 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. 

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Hywel Dodd, North East Wales Development Officer

Hywel is our Development Officer for North East Wales, which includes Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire.  His background is in early education and practical conservation, working with people to achieve positive environmental improvements in their communities. Whilst working for BTCV/TCV he developed a range of practical skills in woodland management, habitat creation and timber construction, and was responsible for training volunteers and service users to become more employable through practical conservation projects across the region. More recently he managed amenity woodland at Bodelwyddan Castle where he welcomed the local community, including many primary schools to learn about the environment through a range of practical workshops and events. He is very excited about his new role with Llais y Goedwig.

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Liz Mutch, Mid Wales Development Officer

Liz works across Mid Wales offering support to groups and organisations who want to manage or work in local woodlands. She has experience in community development, Third Sector fund raising, PR and marketing, and is familiar with the rewards and challenges of community volunteering having set up community groups and volunteered for many over the past twenty years. Her nickname amongst friends and family is ‘community meddler’. Liz is dedicated to enabling people to make a positive change in their local communities.

Email Liz 

   Cara Wilson, South West Wales Development Officer

Cara is the Development Officer for Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath and up as far as Lampeter.  Cara’s background is in community groups support, energy efficiency/ ecobuild advice and environmental campaigning. She has worked in Europe and back home in West Wales for CAT, Eco Centre Wales, Pembrokeshire Voluntary Services, the Wildlife Trust and Permaculture Association Britain. At PAVS her role was to help groups build more sustainable social enterprise and also as environmental liaison officer with the local authority and Pembrokeshire National Park. Her family have successfully renovated two homes, learning to build eco-efficient extensions with local sustainably harvested wood – and the challenges involved compared to buying cheap, foriegn kiln-dried timber. Her passions are self sufficiency, foraging, green woodwork, eco-build, nature friendly forestry and farming.

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Steve Chamberlain, South East Wales Development Officer

Steve is the Community Woodland Development Officer for S.E.Wales working in Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen Caerphilly, Newport and Monmouthshire. Steve has worked with volunteers in South Wales for many years. The last ten years with the Environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy covering Newport and Torfaen with occasional projects in other counties. His interests and expertise include traditional woodland crafts and woodland archery.

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Lucy Kew, Dewis Gwyllt Project Manager

Lucy lives and has grown up in Northwest Wales. Lucy’s worked for several different voluntary organisations in Wales on a range of different themes including environmental youth leadership, environmental art and heritage projects and community focused schools. Lucy has also worked for two County Voluntary Councils, supporting voluntary organisations in developing volunteering policies and facilitating networking groups. More recently Lucy worked on the Business Supporting Communities project enabling businesses to share skills and resources with community groups, for mutual benefit, and played a similar role at Arts and Business Cymru as North Wales Manager.

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The Llais y Goedwig board of Directors

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.

  David Williams – Llais y Goedwig Director

David was one of the first Llais y Goedwig Directors from formation in 2008, but stepped down for a couple of years with other things taking attention. He came back on board in 2019/20 and is also involved in Blaen Bran Community Woodland (since inception in 2000). He has a keen interest in policy and ensuring that Llais y Goedwig can be an effective voice for community woods in Wales. He worked in local government, in the field of health and social care – before retiring in September 2021.

   Joey Hughes – Llais y Goedwig Director

Joey is the founder and director of specialist fruit trees consultancy Orchard Daughters – Merched Y Berllan based in Machynlleth. A joint Masters degree from the University of Edinburgh & Scottish Agricultural College in his youth was followed by a longstanding obsession with all things apples and orchards more generally. Prior to setting up Orchard Daughters – Merched Y Berllan, some of Joey’s previous agricultural roles include Senior Parliamentary Advisor in the House of Commons to the Shadow Minister for Food (during which he found time to complete a full Permaculture Design course) and Head of Plant Health & Biotechnology and Head of Food Policy & Strategy, for the Welsh Government. Joey is also a committed trade unionist and helped establish the XR Cymru Trade Union Coordination Group to help bring environmental and social community activists together to share ideas and skills.


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