Project information

The Sylva Wood Centre

We're developing a centre for innovation in home-grown wood. The Sylva Wood Centre:

- promotes the use of wood grown in the UK
- provides training and education to help young
people learn to design and make in wood
- stimulates innovation in design and making in
wood and supports new business

This is a long-term project

Charity information

Sylva Foundation

Sylva Foundation logo
  • Need


    Wood is important. Right now we all rely heavily on synthetic materials - both at home and at work and that's not sustainable. By being innovative in the ways we grow and use wood in the UK we can create jobs, drive economic growth and preserve beautiful places.

    Skills and training in wood are hard to come by, support for new wood-based businesses is lacking and innovation in technology and design in wood is scarce.


    Innovation in wood technology is vital if our economy is to be less reliant on synthetic materials. Traditional and state-of-art wood skills need to be fostered, and young business nurtured. The use of home-grown timber needs to be promoted.
    The Sylva Wood Centre - opened in 2015 - supports small businesses and craftspeople who design and make in wood. It aims to support apprentices and training in wood working skills and promote the use of home-grown wood from well-managed British forests.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Promoting the use of home-grown wood sourced from well-managed British forests


    » We support this aim through our innovative myForest service - used by 1000s of woodland owners across the UK
    » The Sylva Wood Centre encourages innovation in the design and use of home-grown timber

    We aim to promote home-grown wood through the development and promotion of new products, and support of businesses.

    Aim 2

    To provide education and training in design and making in wood and in enterprise skills


    » Supporting new businesses through sheltered 'incubation' units
    » Supporting apprenticeships for young people who want to develop skills in designing and making in wood
    » Conducting skills training in design and making innovative wood products.

    We will support at least four fledgling businesses each year, provide apprenticeship opportunities and conduct skills training

    Aim 3

    To stimulate an innovative culture in the design and use of home-grown wood


    » Showcasing the latest in timber engineering and design at the Sylva Wood Centre

    We will act as a catalyst to inspire innovation in wood technology and design, gaining public interest in our activities and providing active support for the sector.

  • Impact


    We aim to create a 'pull' for home-grown timber, which will in turn promote the sustainable management of UK forests. At the same time we will reduce our reliance on imported timber, and reduce our carbon footprint.


    The land and buildings at the Sylva Wood Centre are owned by the charity and risks associated with loss of control are low. Income from commercial tenancies supports ongoing charitable work at the centre.


    The trustees of the Sylva Foundation are keen to build close working relationship with donors and funders. Monthly email updates will report on progress, donors will receive the Annual Review and will be invited to visit the Sylva Wood Centre at least once a year

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £675,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £40,000 Apprenticeships Five apprentices over 5 years
      £600,000 Building No2 Conversion of second building
      £35,000 Teaching workshop Machinery & equipment for teaching workshop, and bursaries for school programme

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Private donation £400,000 Conditional
    Living legacy £100,000 Conditional
  • Background


    The Sylva Wood Centre is located in south Oxfordshire. OX14 4QT. The impact of Sylva Foundation's work is national.


    Young people wanting to develop woodworking skills
    Entrepreneurs building innovative wood based businesses
    UK woodland owners
    The general public as UK woodlands thrive through better management.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Sylva Foundation has a proven track record for innovation with projects impacting thousands of woodlands across the UK (that it supports through other projects) right through to the wood sector.
    It owns land and buildings that are ideally suited to support innovation in home-grown wood, and has a strong track record for collaboration and partnership working in the sector.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    Two of Sylva's trustees in particular have a personal reputation and experience in the wood sector. This includes designer Luke Hughes.

    Wood Centre Advisory Committee

    A group of 15 volunteers regularly provide advice and guidance to the Sylva Foundation. All have impressive track records in the wood sector.

Sylva Wood Centre

Sylva Wood Centre