Who we Are

We are a partnership of people & organisations passionate about community forests and the power of trees to transform places and strengthen and enhance communities.

We are directly involved in supporting community forestry initiatives:

The Mersey Forest, City of Trees, Pennine Edge Forest, Forest of Mercia, White Rose Forest, and the Lancashire Woodlands Project.


Our Trustees

The Trustees of the Community Forest Trust are responsible for the overall direction of the charity/company. We have trustees from a wide range of backgrounds. The board of trustees is a voluntary group who meet quarterly. We welcome applications from prospective new trustees, particularly from finance, fundraising and land management backgrounds. If you are interested in becoming a Community Forest Trust Trustee please contact us.



Iain Taylor

Is chair of the Community Forest Trust, and director of IMT Consultancy Services, a business which advises clients on financing and implementation of development projects, environmental projects, parks, woodlands and public open spaces.

Previously, Iain was director of business development for the Land Trust and was responsible for the development team and the Trust’s pipeline of new and established parks and open space projects across the UK.  Prior to joining the Land Trust, Iain was partnerships director for the Peel Group.  Iain has been engaged in infrastructure and property development as well as environmental project development and in air, water and land sectors in the UK and USA. He has a range of external interests including the chair of the NW Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committee, trustee of Community Forest Trust, governor of the local primary school and member of the Manchester, Pennine and Potteries Canal and River Trust Waterway Partnership.

Alan Simson

Is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Forestry at Leeds Beckett University, where he is also Director of Research for the School of Art, Architecture and Design. Alan has been involved with urban forestry, urban greening and urban design for many years, having gained extensive professional experience in the UK New Towns, particularly Telford, where he ran the afforestation programme for over a decade. Alan has been involved with several EU research projects on urban forestry and urban greening. Alan is a member of the European Forum on Urban Forestry, lead UK representative on ASEM.UK (Asian-European Meeting on Urban Forestry), chairs the Steering Committee of the White Rose Forest, is on the Board of the Yorkshire West Local Nature Partnership, is a member of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce’s Quality Places and Spaces Group, is a member of the Landscape Institute’s Bio-Security Group and is a Director/Trustee of Concourse, the Leeds Architecture Centre.

Brian Crouch

Had a career with BT and was the Regional Director for BT in the North West. Brian recently set up with two colleagues a Community Garden Centre for the disabled in Macclesfield which is now a successful social enterprise. He is also a Governor on the Board of Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Christine Beyga

Has worked in social care in a variety of roles for over 30 years, initially starting in Children’s Services eventually into adult social care and is currently the Head of Delivery, Adult Social Care for Wirral Council. Christine strongly believes that Parks and green spaces contribute to all aspects of health and well-being including increasing levels of physical activity which could alleviate pressures on the health and social system.

David Shaw

Is a Professor of Planning at the University of Liverpool with a long standing interest in integrated spatial planning, particularly from a rural and environmental perspective. Prior to moving to Liverpool in 1994 David taught at the University of Central England (Birmingham), University of Malawi and at the College of St. Mark and St John (Plymouth). He has also played an active role in helping to promote rural development in the Liverpool City Region, as the Chair of the Merseyside LAG and sits on the LCC European Strategic Investment Fund committee representing the rural economy.

Derek Antrobus

Has served as a Labour Member of Salford City Council since 1979. He currently sits on the Council’s cabinet as Assistant Mayor for Planning, a portfolio that includes planning and highways. He is also a member of the Council of Salford University, the Greater Manchester Planning and Housing Commission and Natural Capital, the Greater Manchester Local Nature Partnership. Derek leads on the City Council’s climate change agenda, chairing both the Carbon Reduction Management Board and the Salford Flood Forum. He is a member of the National Local Government Flood Forum. Since 2003 Councillor Antrobus has served on the North West Regional Flood & Coastal Committee. He is also a trustee of the National Museum of Labour History and is the Chair of the Red Rose Forest Partnership. A former journalist, Derek now works for the Open University as a social science lecturer.

Hilary Hampton

Has worked in local government for 38 years always in waste management and latterly as part of the corporate communications team. After leaving Local Government in 2011 Hilary took up a position in the private sector with Veolia at their flagship Energy Recovery Facility in Four Ashes in Wolverhampton as a Communications Manager. With her passion for waste management comes her love for the environment and this is one of the reasons why she values Community Forest Trust. ‘I have always had a passion for rubbish, my Dad reckons it’s in my blood because my Grandad used to work for the corporation collecting rubbish with his horse and cart…. we all have a duty to take care of the environment, and trees play a huge part in our environment.’

Howard Matthewson

Was formerly CEO of international extractive and industrial businesses and a business turnaround consultant, now enjoying leading walking tours in the UK and beyond, as well as being a qualified Volunteer Peak District National Park Ranger.

Jo Harrison

Is the Director of Asset Management at United Utilities, the regional Water and Sewerage Company in the North West. She has over 20 years of experience of working in the water industry and has worked for UU since joining the company in 1998. In her current role she is accountable for setting the asset management strategy for the wholesale; including developing and strengthening the Company’s approach to asset management, and environmental regulation and quality, as well as improving service to the customers. Jo is a chartered member of the Institute of Water and Environmental Managers (CIWEM) and a Chartered Environmentalist. She is also a member of the North West Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) and a Trustee of the Healthy Waterways Rivers Trust, covering the Mersey Basin.

John Moverley

Has worked in the private, public and charitable sectors including some twenty years at CEO level. Currently John is Chairman of the Amenity Forum, the West Midlands Forestry & Woodlands Advisory Committee and the Deer Initiative. He is also a member of the Severn & Wye Flood and Coastal Committee and a Trustee of BASIS Registration.

Martin Boyett

Is a retired architect and town planner, and a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. He has spent most of his career in local government, with responsibilities including village planning, historic building conservation, archaeology and industrial archaeology, ecology, tree preservation, and landscape design. In 1993 Martin was involved in setting up the Mersey Community Forest, he managed the Borough’s contribution to the project until his retirement in 2001, following which he was invited to join the Mersey Forest Trust. He continued in this role until the Trust was wound up in 2005. Martin is currently Vice Chair of the Lion Salt Works Trust, and is involved in the European Route of Industrial Heritage.

Steve Connor

Is co-founder and CEO of Creative Concern, the Manchester-based sustainability communications agency. He specialises in ethical and sustainability issues, integrated campaigns, city strategies and brand development. Particular areas of expertise include climate change, place making, transport, food issues, and the natural environment. Steve is the former Chair of Manchester’s Climate Change Steering Group, helping edit the city’s climate change action plan – Manchester: A Certain Future. He is also the former Chair of the Northwest Forestry Forum and serves on the advisory board of Salford University’s centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures.

Victoria Merton

As Director of Corporate Affairs, The Peel Group, Victoria is responsible for delivery of the corporate strategy for The Peel Group, one of the most diverse private infrastructure investment companies in the UK with assets owned and operated of over £5bn.  Prior to joining Peel in 2007, Victoria worked for private and public entities in the UK and Asia.  Her experience includes co-ordination of strategic asset divestment, commercial development of emerging markets and energy infrastructure trading.