We can’t contact Woodland Trust after root and branch cyber-attack

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I am hoping you will be able to uncover what is happening at the Woodland Trust, an organisation which featured very positively in your paper recently. Its MOREwoods scheme helps fund woodland planting schemes that involve more than 500 trees.

I successfully applied for a grant in November, and was supposed to start planting this March. However, I’ve heard nothing for three months and have been unable to make contact. Its website says that activities are suspended due to a serious cyber-attack and inquiries are directed to a phone number.

I have called several times, and written directly, without response, and I have to assume that the trust is no longer operational.

Our project may well not go ahead but we need to be informed.
JP, Leicester

The good news is the trust is still operational. The bad is that December’s cyber-attack, and the ongoing investigation, have caused chaos. Computer systems had to be dismantled to contain the damage, including the databases used for the MOREwoods scheme.

“Some parts of the system are only now being restored, and we only have partial access to details of applicants,” it says.

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“There’s a large backlog of inquiries we are working through as quickly as we can. Applicants for this year’s scheme will be contacted over the next few weeks. We hope people will bear with us at this challenging time.”

The MOREwoods scheme has a 12-month turnaround time in any case, so March was never going to be feasible.

I’m told your grant will be with you in August, and that you have been contacted.

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And there’s more good news … we’ve warmed to Iceland

Last March my wife needed to shield, so we quickly became online grocery shoppers. I opened accounts with two supermarkets, but delivery slots were virtually unobtainable. I emailed both to ask what priority they could give to the clinically extremely vulnerable. One offered a box of “essentials” which weren’t our essentials, the other didn’t reply.

Iceland, meanwhile, was proactive, using the vulnerable list to contact my wife and offer exactly what we needed – a weekly time slot when we could book two or three days ahead. Deliveries have proved reliably easy to obtain.

Orders arrive with the telephone number of the local store, where staff are helpful. All in all, Iceland has helped us through a difficult year.
NH, Uley, Gloucestershire

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