An Andover charity is calling for volunteers to help support it as its long-planned building project prepares to get underway.

Andover Trees United (ATU) is set to begin building ‘The Cabin’, an off-grid volunteer hub, forest school, and meeting place next month, with a team of carpenters set to begin building the structure from local timber in Harmony Woods. Following the wood being hewn and cut to shape, it will be raised into place as the basis of the building.

“It's an incredible display of craft and workmanship,” said project leader, Wendy Davis, comparing it to an Amish barn raising as depicted in the 1985 film Witness. “Although not exactly the same process as ours will be, it gives you an idea of what to expect.”

Plans for the cabin date back to the beginning of the Harmony Woods project. Plans for the cabin were approved by TVBC, with the charity conducting a variety of fundraising events to raise the funds to build the site, including art auctions and charity walks.

Now, the building of the heart of the site will finally get under way, with carpenters from the Carpenters Fellowship to operate from the site with a mobile sawmill to produce the materials needed for the building, as well as working on many of the wooden components by hand.

Tim Potts, the Carpenters’ Fellowship project manager, said he expected it to be an “emotional” experience. “When we were invited to be a part of this project I could immediately tell that it was going to be another fantastic communal experience,” he said. “Members and volunteers will be coming from far and wide to produce something really special together.”

As part of this work, however, the charity needs volunteers to help keep the carpenters fed and watered between June and August, as well as helping with some of the work itself.

“A support team is a vital part of the build,” said Wendy. “We have the carpenters to make it and now we need the volunteers to make it happen!”

The plan is to raise the building over the August Bank Holiday weekend, when the carpenters will hoist the timbers and construct the frames in situ.

Once completed, the off-grid woodland classroom will be a facility for everyone from local schools to the area’s businesses. It will mark the 10th year of the project, after the planting of the forest began in 2012 with a visit from Princess Anne.

To get involved with the build of the cabin, please contact: