Kate Hiseman is the founder and CEO of the Sustainable Land Trust, which she set up in 2014 after 25 years teaching sustainable land management and influencing spatial plans and development, as well as working to build the abilities of communities to create their own sustainable futures.
The Sustainable Land Trust aims to bring people closer to their natural environment and to value the services that nature provides to support society. Kate and her team are based on the Burrough Court Estate; a 1,200 acre farming estate near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. The estate has two farms, and over 300 acres of habitats.
The Trust works in partnership with the land owners, universities, NGO’s, and others to demonstrate the benefits that biodiverse landscapes and natural spaces can provide to people. The Trust also provides outreach services, working with communities to help them sustainably manage their land and open spaces, whilst maximising their social and economic value.
Our ethos is that for any project or activity we will try to maximise biodiversity and improve ecosystems, whilst at the same time providing as many social benefits as possible.
We use our skills as experienced educators, sustainability experts, and community development professionals to identify innovative and exciting ways to get the most social and economic benefits from nature. In particular, we are passionate about getting vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and adults into nature as they often are the least connected with their environments. One main activity on the farm is in the provision of education, training, and work experience for those with social, emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties; and those in recovery or with mental health issues.
The Trust has worked with over 60 vulnerable young people since its inception. Their immersion in the beautiful landscapes of the Burrough Court Estate has proven to help them to address their issues and find a calm space. At the same time, the Trust is helping them gain City & Guilds accredited qualifications; develop practical skills that can be useful in the future; get involved in research; identify how to make products from nature; and develop aptitudes and attitudes that will get them back into school, further education, or into work.
Our work with vulnerable adults and volunteers is expanding, and their involvement in our many activities and projects help them improve their mental health and wellbeing, and physical fitness. Our volunteers and beneficiaries learn a wide range of skills and as a result they grow in confidence and make new friends. They are encouraged to develop new project ideas and take responsibility for spaces or activities if they wish.