The Enchanted Forest boosts employment in Highland Perthshire through merchandise collaboration with The Workshop Aberfeldy social enterprise

The Enchanted Forest has joined forces with social enterprise The Workshop Aberfeldy to support people in Highland Perthshire who face barriers into employment.

The Dunkeld Road-based charity has produced some beautifully crafted merchandise for sale at this year’s show – Of The Wild – which runs from October 4 until November 4 in Faskally Wood, near Pitlochry. Using a recently acquired CNC Router, a kind of computer controlled cutting machine, the range includes solid oak keyrings, medals, coloured lanyards, name badges for Forest stewards, maps and signage for the award-winning event.

The Workshop Aberfeldy was founded by Paul Parmenter in 2014 after he noticed a lack of job opportunities in the local area. Many of the people it supports have learning difficulties, have experienced issues at school, or simply want to gain skills to make them more employable.

The enterprise provides opportunities to learn practical and technical manufacturing skills in wood working, engineering and laser cutting. Crucially it also offers a safe environment for people to gain self-confidence and develop interpersonal skills at their own pace.

The Workshop Aberfeldy generates revenue by selling the products made during training and completing work for customers.

After meeting the team behind The Enchanted Forest, there was clear connection between the show, which has had a significant impact locally, and a social enterprise organisation working with people who have so much to offer the local community.

Rosie Baxendine, Business Development for The Workshop Aberfeldy, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the Enchanted Forest for the first time at this year’s show Of the Wild. Many of the team know all about the show and there’s a sense of pride that they are now part of such a hugely successful event in our local area.

“Our new CNC router has enabled staff to produce more intricate designs which we are very excited about. The next step is to raise the money to purchase a 3D printer which will further enhance our team’s skills and increase their employability in the longer term.”

Ian Sim, Chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, said:

“We collaborate with many businesses both locally and from further afield every year when producing The Enchanted Forest and we are so pleased to be able to work closely with a social enterprise like The Workshop Aberfeldy which is doing incredible work giving young people in Highland Perthshire the opportunity to learn new skills which will help them find work. We are sure our visitors are going to love the beautifully crafted, locally-made merchandise.”

Scotland’s premier outdoor sound and light event The Enchanted Forest runs from October 4 – November 4 in Faskally Wood, near Pitlochry. This year’s show, Of The Wild, is firmly rooted in nature, highlighting the natural wonders all around us and is inspired by the hidden beauty of the wild forest after dark.