Nicky Corbishley, Trustee - The Heart of England Forest

Nicky Corbishley

Nicky has been a professional fundraiser for over twenty years, raising money for many different organisations, mainly in the arts sector. Over that time, she has been responsible for raising over £45 million.

Her current role is fundraising for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, where she is responsible for securing just under £2 million annually alongside the company’s ongoing capital project fundraising requirements.

Alongside the arts, her passion is for the great outdoors and the environment. Prior to the RSC, Nicky was Development Director at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney where she secured the funding to build the Australian PlantBank, a science and research facility housing Australia’s largest seedbank and research laboratories that specialise in horticultural research and conservation of Australian native plant species.

Nicky has been a board member for Headlong theatre company for four years and heads up their nominations committee. She also sits on the fundraising committee for Coventry City of Culture 2021 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Nicky loves walking in the Forest with her family. Her favourite trees are the Australian Morton Bay fig and the English oak.

“I love trees and I am completely committed to realising Felix’s vision of a forest in the heart of England that my children, and my children’s children, will benefit from and enjoy. I’m excited about the potential of the Forest to inspire and teach young people to care for their environment, and feel privileged to be part of an organisation with such an important mission.”

Nicky was appointed onto the Heart of England Forest Board in February 2018.

Q&A with Nicky

What expertise do you bring to the trustee role?

I’ve been a fundraiser by profession for 20 years and so I’m passionate about helping the charity increase its profile and build its fundraising. I also have young (ish) kids who absolutely love the activities offered by the Forest, so as a local ‘user’ I enjoy supporting that stream of the charity’s activities too.

What aspect of the charity’s work interests you the most?

For me, it’s not just about planting trees but about teaching people why it is so important – especially now – and enabling those who might not get out to green spaces very often to enjoy everything the Forest has to offer. As a trustee, I get to hear about everything from farming to counting butterflies, so I am learning all the time whilst feeling that my particular expertise is helping the charity. The best kind of Board is one with many different talents, where you share expertise and learn from each other.

Where/how do you think the Heart of England Forest is making the most difference?

I don’t know where to start! The Forest does so much and the team working here are absolutely brilliant. I love that the new habitats are attracting really rare and at risk species back to the area, that schools are bringing classes into the forest to build dens and learn about the environment, and that we are greening huge swathes of the area so that future generations will be able to bring their families to one of the largest forests in the country and enjoy everything it has to offer.

What are the biggest challenges that you feel are facing the charity over the next 12 months?

The ongoing and increasing challenges of annual flooding and drought is impeding our ability to plant trees, and these extreme weather events are affecting tree mortality rates.

Covid-19 has meant that we haven’t been able to work with our brilliant and committed volunteers as we would usually, so the forestry team will be under even more pressure than usual.

What 3 words would you use to describe the work of the Forest?

Vital, regenerative, life-affirming

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