What we do

Nature’s Living Room CIC is a Community Interest Company – we’re a social enterprise that uses profits from paying customers to subsidise access for disadvantaged people.

We offer sessions in nature to anyone who needs them.

We facilitate a fun and safe environment for people of all ages and abilities to:
– Learn, play and explore
– Nurture self-esteem and confidence
– Focus on each others’ mental and physical well-being
– Feel empowered through self-directed learning
– Develop communication skills, empathy and emotional literacy
– Think independently and solve problems together
– Appreciate our natural environment

We achieve this by:
– Giving regular long-term access to an area of natural woodland
– Providing fun creative and physical activities
– Spending time together without rushing through agendas
– Building on the innate curiosity and motivation within all of us to learn and engage
– Encouraging appropriate risk-taking
– Teaching woodland and other creative skills at appropriate levels
– Passing on knowledge about the flora and fauna of the woods
– Taking into account different learning styles
– Giving responsibility and choice

Typical activities include den and shelter building, campfire cooking, slack line and hammocks, group games, story time, crafts and tool use, exploring and learning about the woodland environment.

We work in a rural area where people are disadvantaged by poverty, remoteness, accessibility of services, disability, poor mental health, and bereavement.

Nature’s Living Room CIC was set up by Deni Riach who is a Director and our lead practitioner. Our main base is in Target Woods, just outside Hexham, and although we are now set up as a CIC, we have run similar activities there since 2012. Pre-covid we had an established regular programme of events enjoyed by lots of different people across Tynedale. During the pandemic hiatus, we have strengthened our governance bringing three of our earlier beneficiaries on board as directors. We’ve refocused our priorities onto supporting people to recover good mental health, especially anyone who has been badly affected by lockdowns, and developing our mentoring for young people.

Meet the directors:

Deni Riach is our founder, lead practitioner and Director of Delivery. You can find out more about Deni HERE.

Our Director of Development is Yvonne Conchie. She’s a freelancer supporting grassroots communities to become more resilient by making the best of their wildlife, history and landscapes. Her background is in environmental education. Yvonne’s been bringing her kids along to these woods since 2015. A wilder of people and places, Yvonne cares for three acres in the North Pennines, which are also home to multiple rescued animals; some with four legs, some with two.

Our Director of Operations is Katie Aitken-McDermott. Katie has worked in the north-east with charities, universities & with the public sector. She is a researcher, projet manager, and a mum. She works at the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University where she researches local social enterprise and is writing her PhD. When she’s not doing that, you’ll find her in a river. Katie says Deni and the woods have played a big part in building her confidence as a parent and as a person.

Our Director of Finance is Heather Cook. She works in Business Services for the National Trust as well as running Green Bee Crafts. With a lifelong love of nature, Heather spends a lot of time outdoors. She is a repurposer and maker of useful things; giving things a second chance whether it’s plants, pets or a pair of curtains. Heather started coming to the woods in 2011 with her daughter Millie, who is now one of our Young Forest Leaders.