Open mic night to raise funds for environmental charity

The Word Forest Organisation founder Tracey West, pictured during one of her visits to Kenya

AT a time of year when we all love Christmas trees, spoken word poets and musicians are inviting all to join them in supporting a charity that plants them too!

The next Black Ven Spoken Word and Acoustic Music open mic night, held at the Galley Cafe in Lyme Regis, will raise funds and awareness for a local charity planting trees and building schools in Kenya.

The Word Forest Organisation is a Lyme Regis-based charity, run by sustainable living author and environmentalist Tracey West. Along with a multi-skilled workers co-operative who pride themselves on equality, they plant trees, build solid stone classrooms and facilitate education in impoverished communities in Kenya.

Back in February, Tracey also founded a women’s empowerment group called Mothers of the Forest, who meet regularly to share best practice for looking after the forest.

Tracey commented: “The planet desperately needs more trees, perhaps more than ever before. If they’re planted here in Dorset, it’s brilliant but trees planted in tropical zones like Kenya grow at an exponential rate and are therefore best placed for swifter removal of CO2 and other pollutants from the atmosphere.

“Our forests are not just helping the planet; the commodities from it are also helping the community to lift themselves out of poverty too. For example, a mango tree at just five years old will be 12ft tall and yield about 100 pieces of fruit. That’s enough to keep a family fed and a few to take to market.”

Local author and poet Sarah Acton is the creative mind behind the Black Ven Poetry events, held all along the Jurassic Coast, and she’s a great supporter of the reforestation charity.

Sarah decided to turn her monthly spoken word event, based at The Galley Cafe in Broad Street, into a fundraiser to give the charity’s coffers a boost, before Tracey husband Simon West head to Kenya in February to choose the next half dozen schools they’re going to build and to inspect the forests that have been planted over the past 12 months.

Sarah said: “I’m proud to support the Word Forest Organisation, and the ambitious and tireless efforts of Tracey, Simon and their team to help protect and restore important land, forests and local communities in Kenya, through positive action. Climate change is on all of our minds.

“The Black Ven open mic is regular fun and friendly night of poetry, song and story, it’s often surprising, heartwarming and entertaining, you never know who will come or what they will bring. Donations will be taken on the door for this fundraiser edition.”

The open mic fundraiser will be held on Saturday, December 15 at 7.30pm. Those wishing to perform poetry, spoken word and acoustic music can sign up from 7pm.

The Word Forest Organisation is always grateful to hear from anyone keen to put on a fundraiser and they are also excited to forge more corporate partnerships. They can help with carbon offsetting too, as was done recently at the Lyme Regis Baptist Church.

For more information about their projects and for details about becoming a member, visit or call 01297 533 111.

Woodmead Halls

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