Woody Welcomes Nottingham Forest
Before we start this weeks Woody Welcomes blog we wanted to let you all know that Woody and I (and some other thoroughly good people - maybe even Brentford Legend Marcus Gayle) from Park Lane Stables will be shaking our buckets at the game tomorrow to collect money for the charity... So bring some spare change and help out an amazing cause!
There are two famous forests in Nottinghamshire - The leafy, expansive woodland of Sherwood, famous for its tales of the adventures of Robin Hood, and then there is Nottingham Forest, this weekend's visitors to the Gtech Stadium. And it seems Walt Disney himself wanted this match to connect his audiences. Phil Harris who voiced the character of Robin Hoods right hand man, Little John in the 1973 movie, Robin Hood, also famously sung “the bees are buzzing in the trees to make some honey just for me...” in the film Jungle Book six years earlier (and who doesn’t love a bit of Disney?)
And it is not lost on us to realise that in nature the forest needs the bees to survive and thrive... and that may also be true in the Premier League as Nottingham Forest could do with a win against our Bees this Saturday in order to survive in the topflight.
So let’s take a deep dive in to the amazing things that Nottingham Forest do to support their community.
‘Supporting those who need us’ is a campaign launched in April 2023 by the Nottingham Forest Community Trust. And this organisation is very much about community and trust. The campaign aims to highlight the vision and mission and goals of the charitable arm of Nottingham Forest Football Club, and to highlight the opportunities that are offered to individuals in terms of education, health and wellbeing and improving skill sets.
One of the first things to really pop out to Woody and I is the ‘Forest Forces’. This programme provides regularly activities and events for veterans, helping former service personnel to access mental health support and avoid feelings of isolation. The programme is supported with funding from Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and is recognised with the Ministry of Defence Empolyer Recognition Scheme Gold Award.
We loved reading about a day trip to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford back in November 2022. A group of 80 strong veterans from the Forest community went along for the day and many of them talked about how positive the Forest Forces programme is and how it was great to see the exhibitions and even to watch two Spitfires take off from the same runway that was used during World War II.
We know that times have been tough for lots of families and so it was really encouraging to learn about Forest’s ‘Free Fun and Food’ sessions that run throughout the school holidays. These sessions provide healthy food options to the children who attend as well as plenty of activities to encourage fitness, improve mental health and ensure that children don’t feel lonely during their time away from school.
Nottingham's very own Robin Hood went along to one of the events and despite feeling nervous and shy to begin with, he ended up skipping out as the session ended, clutching his bag of food to share with his family.
During the day Robin enjoyed archery (of course),dancing and board games as well as spending time in hand cuffs... I am sure it was all just an innocent misunderstanding.
Those who want to take a walk on the wild side can join the Walking Football sessions, which take place on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday every week. The football matches are for the over 50’s and include competitive tournaments. The slower pace of this game means that those who can no longer keep up the pace of running around for 90 minutes can take part and socialise with those in a similar position.
We were very impressed with the Community Trust providing a Mental Health and Suicide Prevention programme. It is a sad fact that suicide rates are much higher for men than women, with three quarters of reported suicides being men.
Whilst it incredibly important to tackle mental health regardless of gender, for a football club (which is still a mostly male dominated sport) to recognise and proactively work to reduce the incidences of suicide is fantastic.
The Community Trust offers Mental Health First Aid training for businesses and organisations within the community. The courses touch on the importance of and training of Mental Health Champions, Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention. What a powerful way of engaging with the community.
Finally, Woody and I would like to say a massive congratulations to Forest Women who secured their first ever FA Women’s National League Cup trophy at the weekend. TheWomen’s team won 3-2 in a tense match, which headed into extra time against Watford. A special mention to Charlotte Greengrass, Yasmin Mosby and Gianna Mitchell who scored the winning goals. Bravo Ladies!
So, there we have it... Nottingham Forest is really doing some wonderful things in the community and engaging positively with a wide and varied demographic of people. We applaud what they do and whilst we wish them luck in their endeavours to stay in the Premier League, Woody and I will be hoping for another three points to keep our Brentford Boys in the top half of the table.