Alison Hunter, Trustee
Alison is a senior HR professional with over 20 years’ of human resources and organisational development experience, in media, publishing and the public sector.
Having worked closely with Felix Dennis, founder of the Heart of England Forest charity, on both his personal and business personnel matters, Alison gained a unique insight into the vision and ambitions of Felix’s idea for the charity and the significant impact the Forest will have on both the environment and on the lives of future generations.
As a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, Alison is committed to promoting the development of others and enhancing employment opportunities and experiences for everyone. She often presents about the effect that a strong corporate conscience and social wellbeing strategy can have on people’s working lives.
“One of my earliest memories is trampling through leaves in Temple Newsam Woods in Leeds with my sister and brother on a Sunday afternoon. My ambition is that the Heart of England Forest can inspire others to be able to lift the lid on a very magical place, and to create a special destination for people to fall in love with.”
As a trustee of the Heart of England Forest since October 2013, Alison is passionate about ensuring that Felix’s legacy lives on not only in the local community, but also on a national scale.
Q&A with Alison
Why did you choose to give your time and get involved with the charity?
I had the pleasure of knowing Felix Dennis before he died and was inspired by his vision, so when the chance came to become part of the Board of Trustees I couldn’t refuse. I am a huge lover of the natural environment and this role is the perfect match.
What expertise do you bring to the trustee role?
As a HR professional I’m a big team player so enjoy the dynamic of a diverse group. I deal with people every day so I bring a fair and balanced perspective, as well as challenge and opinion when required. I’m lucky to be part of such a talented group of trustees and staff at the Heart of England Forest.
What aspect of the charity’s work interests you the most?
Oh that one is easy for me – the education of our future generations. Enabling the Forest to provide a safe and stimulating environment for them to learn in the outdoors (especially important during recent months), and inspiring them to become the custodians of all that the environment provides us with, as well as helping with their physical and mental well-being.
Where/how do you think the Heart of England Forest is making the most difference?
Having such a huge impact on our future generation’s lives, both from a community and environmental perspective. We don’t know it yet and they don’t know it yet, but the creation of our Forest full of light and air for everyone to enjoy will be something to savour and cherish when I am long gone.
What are the biggest challenges that you feel are facing the charity over the next 12 months?
I think we are going to continue to be challenged by our own natural environment in our climate. It means we will have to be careful with our tree planting strategy to combat the elements, plus the availability of land to continue our aims to increase woodland cover in one of the areas of the country that needs it the most.
What 3 words would you use to describe the work of the Forest?
Inspiring, ambitious, inclusive.