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Woodland group hits back at “troublemakers”

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By Fiona Reid
Woodland group hits back at

"MONTHS of harassment" have been suffered by members of a Moffat charity aiming to restore a community woodland.

And enough is enough for the trustees of Moffat Community Woodlands, who this week took the unusual step of publicly revealing the problems they claim to have faced from a ‘handful’ of people.

They wrote to their 200 members outlining what they describe as ‘attacks’ on individual trustees, staff and the charity.
Their letter states: “You may not be aware that over the last few months we have also had to deal with repeated unfounded accusations of collective malpractice and been subject to relentless harassment in person, by email, and especially on social media.
“Most distressing, however, has been a recent series of malicious and depraved allegations made against group members, which are currently being investigated by Police Scotland.”
The charity revealed that some of those responsible have created fake identities and the letter goes on: “This activity has been very difficult and time-consuming to deal with.
“What their motivation is we don’t know, other than they appear not to agree with our stated aim to make the woodland open and accessible to all.
“As a management group we welcome constructive criticism – we are not perfect – but we are all honest, hardworking members of the community who have volunteered our time and energy to make this project work.”
Speaking separately, trustees chairman Tom Mulholland stressed that the charity has no hidden agenda and that all future proposals for developments on the 250-year-old Gallow Hill will be discussed publicly.
He said: “Moffat Community Woodlands is progressing with plans to replant the hill as mixed broadleaf woodland. This is our focus just now, alongside the development of community engagement with the project. Anything else that people hear at present is rumour and speculation – anything else we do as a group in future will involve wider consultation with the community.
“The woodland ultimately is a legacy for the future generations of Moffat, and we wish to encourage a range of users to enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, there has been widespread support on social media for the charity from Moffat residents.
Lynn Anderson said: “I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with so much unpleasantness when all you wanted to do was help the community.”
And Linda Wright added: “I’m shocked to read this, and am so sorry that your hard work has been rewarded in part by such malice. They are in the minority.”

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