The Lambeth Forest Network is the enterprise network created originally in 2013 by Tree Shepherd.
Members comprise mainly Lambeth residents who are graduates of the Start Your Own Enterprise programme, however it also includes those who have attended our business clinics, masterclasses and networking events.
The network has been rapidly expanding over the past two and a half years and now has 450+ strong membership, with roughly a third actively progressing their businesses beyond test-trading level. To get them started, up until April 2015, Tree Shepherd volunteered our time to run the business incubation services it needed. We ran weekly clinics, sought out trade opportunities and provided the cash and resources needed to run regular networking events – all free of charge to the user.
However over time it was important to secure funding so that the good work could continue. In 2015 we were extremely fortunate to receive two years of funding from the New Homes Bonus, working with Lambeth Council to make sure new enterprise support money reached the more socially disadvantaged – those who needed it the most.
A key part of our vision was to reach a point where the network itself became independent of Tree Shepherd, able to govern itself, represent its members as an independent body and make the changes necessary to become a sustainable body capable of competing for new commissions for its members.
We are delighted to announce that this has now happened and March saw the successful election of three Board Directors – voted in by the network itself. The winning candidates are Cordwell Thomas, Kareen Gordon and Bobbie Allen.
The Directors will be meeting bi-monthly to further the aims of the Lambeth Forest Network and work towards securing new contracts for its members. Tree Shepherd will continue to provide support.
An exciting development is the new website with a key feature being a colourful business directory that truly reflects the vibrant nature of the Forest Network membership body: