Steven Donagain is our CEO. After completing forestry training at Tampere University Finland he went on to work in the forestry sector in Finland, Russia, Canada and Britain.
After completing further forestry machine operator qualifications in Finland he returned to the UK as a forwarder operator before moving to Hill Holt Wood as a ranger teaching forestry to disadvantaged children. Since then he was responsible for running all the forestry and countryside contracts for Hill Holt Wood and writing and implementing management plans for the 1000 acres of land that Hill Holt Wood manages. Steve took the reins as CEO in June 2016.
Oliver is the Head of Operations at Hill Holt Wood. He is responsible for all aspects of the on-site operation, including site maintenance, compliance and legislation and event management. After completing a degree in Environmental Studies at Newcastle University, he spent the first twenty years of his career managing various restaurants around Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
Oliver came to Hill Holt Wood as a volunteer looking for a change in career. Since then he has been employed as a ranger teaching disadvantaged children, before being promoted to Site Manager, utilising his experience in the catering industry to manage events at Hill Holt Wood. Bird enthusiasts should check out his twitter account for his stunning photos @woodmanoliver1
Behind our successful Study Programme is a bubbly and energetic dynamo who’s warm personality makes her the person our learners turn to in their most traumatic times. Sam’s intelligent and empathic approach has helped us deliver a Study Programme to be proud of and she is a key member of the Senior Management Team. Our OFSTED rating has improved under her dedicated and passionate leadership.
Head Ranger Ben is the proud handler to our resident Harris’ Hawk (Horst) and health and safety expert. Equally at home felling a mighty Oak or clearing bramble he’s one of our longest serving team members and a big fan of tricky trees. Ben started out as a Ranger at Hill Holt Wodd and has blossomed his career through Senior Ranger to Head Ranger with a combination of hard-work and social enterprise sensitivity.
It takes a special person to arrive at Hill Holt Wood on one of our programs and work their way up to Senior Ranger and that is precisely what Vicky is. As happy to muck in and get dirt under her fingernails as she is meticulously competing forms and paperwork she’s Hill Holt Wood all the way. Vicky helps our young people achieve their careers dreams with bespoke advice and guidance.
Forestry strongman and extraction expert Nigel can bend six inch nails with his bare (bear?) hands and fell even the mightiest of trees. His reputation on the forwarder is second to none, stacking timber into delicate piles then heading off into the wood before most have even got started. Rumours that he’s a hobgoblin are yet to be confirmed. He’s a big fan of AC/DC and he’s one of our current Senior Rangers.
When most people think of Hill Holt Wood it’s Alan they picture. He’s the wood personified and it’s commonly believed that if he leaves the company the wood itself will revolt. One of the most popular Rangers; he’s been with us since the very early days and is our longest serving Ranger. His craftsmanship is now receiving international recognition and he’s passing on his traditional skills to our young learners.
The man they call ‘Mario’ is both our friendly bus driver and lead garden renovator. He’s known for his unrelenting work ethic and good sense of humour and is a fine mentor to our young learners.
There’s more to Dawn than a wicked attention to detail and a fierce protection of her newly cleaned floors. She’s proved to an attentive one-to-one worker, helping the students that need it the most in a calming and kindly fashion. She keeps nature tidy.
Like the first flowers of spring Maggie is a splash of colour that brightens up the day. Her cheery demeanour and contagious smile ensure that her sessions are far removed from most young people’s experience of schooling. Maggie is incredibly passionate about the state of roadsides in our local community and no Ranger can compete with her when it comes to the amount of rubbish picked up in a typical day on Watch NK. Maggie also hosts the very best woodland birthday parties.
Hard work and intelligence are the hall-marks of our Design Team Lead. Her talents aren’t just confined to the design team office however as she works weddings and teaches university students too. She even put together a whole new Sustainable Building qualification from scratch. Her namesake, (Sir Francis) was awarded a knighthood in 1581 and we believe it’s only a matter of time until our Hollie gets one too.
Having impressed massively during his first year as apprentice he has now been bumped up to the self proclaimed title of “King of Apprentices”. He’s our senior apprentice and is now embarking on his Level 3 in Trees and Timber. Just as important is the fact he is knowledgeable about football and can be relied upon for an informed opinion.
The head of The Hive Cafe and master cake mixer, Maz is also the chef for our wedding parties and other events. She’s equally good at whipping up tasty meals as she is passing on her skills to our Hospitality learners and has been the saviour of many a cold day with a hot treat for shivering Rangers. Maz gives her spare time to helping the homeless in Lincoln, check out Let Them Eat Cake if you want to help.
If you need someone to work one-to-one with a learner, at any of our sites, teach Heritage Woodcraft skills, English or any other task then flexible and confident Michael the Mod is the man you call. Every business needs a versatile team player and he’s ours. Not a trait that goes unvalued we can assure you.
Our functional skills tutor helps our learners reach their full potential. Bubbly and enthusiastic Lizzie has a particular fondness for the colour purple, which is also true of the celebrity songstress Miley Cyrus. While Lizzie didn’t come in like a wrecking ball she has certainly brought a ray of sunshine to our classrooms since starting in 2016. Happy to be referred to as “The Functionator.”
As Hill Holt Wood expands so does our fleet of vehicles and Phil is the man who keeps us all moving. Tippers, buses, mini-vans, mowers and JCBs all need to be kept in full working order and we’d be stuck without him. He’s also in a band, which officially makes him the most rock and roll ranger in our history and proves he’s good with drum brakes and drum solos.
The youthful face of Hill Holt Wood is our nominated television Senior Ranger. He brings an affable nature and range of practical skills and knowledge coupled with his archaeologist background, we dig him so much we made him a Senior Ranger. He once rode an elephant called Geo, in Laos.
When all those about you are losing their heads, Deborah will be calmly keeping the books. Unflappable and reassuring she’s the steady hand on the financial rudder since moving from our Gainsborough site. Loves a cuppa and a biscuit.
Russell comes to us direct from New Zealand with a wealth of land based practical skills. He’s a big fan of a tidy dead hedge and has a passion for skiing and surfing. Russell is also one of them practical people who can fix a broken down van with a piece of cable tie and some sherbet dib-dabs. We’re sure he’s been making waves since joining us in September 2018.
He’s been there and done it all. Now Andy is our reliable driver who picks up learners on his merry way to the wood. Without him there would be stranded teenagers across the Lincoln area and the wood’s various annoying jobs would never get done!
A little bit of knowledge about a lot of things, Senior Ranger Gav started out as our administrator, then took over teaching Maths and English for several years before moving on to our exciting Growing Up Green Project where he’s helping 4000 youngsters to reconnect with nature and the green environment.
A background in joinery and furniture building has armed Glastonbury regular Dave with all the knowledge needed to help teach our eager learners. A can-do attitude and cheery demeanour are the cornerstone to his popularity. Dave is also a caring and patient tutor for some of our learners with the deepest of educational needs.
Heading up our landscaping pathway, he’s a talented fencer and a keen climber who’d love to tackle the north face of the Eiger (and erect a fence possibly?). Chris brings his knowledge, wisdom and daring to the Hill Holt Wood team. You might have seen him chopping logs during the 2018 World Cup.
Learning support legend and tough cookie Claire is practical and versatile. Able to lend a hand to the least assured students in the classroom and outside her sense of humour is much appreciated.
Ever re-homed a duck? Adele has. She’s a talented woodcarver who works hard to support our young people with their issues and their class work. Adele is a friendly face who will quack a smile when you see her but don’t worry about coming to her with your problems,
Recruited in May 2017 to add a shed load of expertise and manpower to the joinery branch of the HHW tree; Ben has volunteered on many straw bale and eco-builds and is more than handy at Hammer Gymnastics. Recently he has taken over teaching the Construction element of the Study Programme.
Recruited in June 2017 Becky worked in the main (straw bale) office in an administrative role before branching out into a one-to-one support role. A growing Social Enterprise needs kind and attentive individuals to keep our young people engaged and Becky more than fits the bill. Rumours that she changed her surname by deed-poll to get the job are probably untrue…
Joined the team in October 2018, Will has a history of hanging out of the back of military helicopters and making complex calculations about weight distribution, all of which will come in handy at Hill Holt Wood where he’ll be supporting our learners to make the most of their potential.
Joining the team after working as a ranger north of the border Ed is taking the reins over at the Big Wood site. He’ll be bringing a new perspective to the project at our sister site. He’s PC, but thats just how he rolls. Rumours that he spent a summer dressed up as the Gruffalo are yet to be verified however…
Aaron was selected to join the design team in January 2018. He says his surname means crushed grapes and he would love to visit Pluto or Saturn (to ruffle the rings), he currently considers himself to be 37% Italian, 63% Northern Irish and 1% Croatian.
Health Coordinator for the Hill Holt Health project who used to be a zoo-keeper and can dead lift 150kilos (which is coincidentally also the weight of the paperwork she’ll be doing on a weekly basis). Lives with Tiko who is way too noisy and eats ironic chicken but flies Horst the Harris’ Hawk.
Back for a third time to work on Countryside NK, a role which he originally fulfilled several years ago and has had several incarnations until returning back to the current form. John knows all there is to know about what we do (especially the Lollycocks Field site) and will be key to our partnership with North Kesteven District Council.
Becky joins us as part of out learning support team. Her gentle yet firm tone shows she has the right personality to help learners reach their potential.
A helping hand making our tasty treats. Karen joined the team in June 2018 and works with with Maz on events and the Hive Café in the kitchen.
Continuing our commitment to the next generation of sustainable foresters, Liam has joined our apprentice team where he’ll be mentored by Senior Ranger Nigel. He passed his chainsaw licence in double quick time.
The first ever Growing Up Green Ranger for the Built Environment, he’s a talented cartoonist and fine photographer who can’t speak Spanish. Having successfully completed a spell on the Design Team we’re thrilled to have him back on the team.
Our new architectural intern comes to us from Manchester, with experience in social and environmentally sustainable architecture that is sure to do him well here! He’s a lover of comedies and football, and his all-time favourite song is ‘I’m a Believer’ by the Monkees.
Our other new architectural intern comes all the way from down South. She’s tall, has a mild obsession with cleaning, and is on a mission to eradicate all non-recyclables from Hill Holt Wood. She loves being outdoors and likes a challenge; her next one is to grow her own veg, so watch out Oliver!
The new sparkling face of our sparkling service; Britney is our newest apprentice, sitting in the driving seat in reception ready to meet and greet our visitors and take all the daily calls and emails. She’s a fan of horror movies so we expect she’ll be Conjuring some smiles before riding off on her bike into the sunset (or not, depending on the time of year).
Office mascot and cuddly stress relief, Border Terrier Brook loves nothing more than the attention of our visitors, something that is never in any short supply.