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The Growing Orchard Communities project aims to support local people to manage healthy orchards for the whole community to enjoy. It is run by Orchard Link, supported by the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as public and private sector grants through locality budgets and S106 funds.
Orchard Link is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation established in 1998 by apple and cider enthusiasts in south Devon concerned about the rapid decline of traditional orchards – with all their environmental and cultural value.
Growing Orchard Communities is a 2-year project linking 23 Community Orchard groups to the wider Orchard Link network and developing new ways of working which will benefit the physical and cultural heritage of the sites and the wellbeing of the communities.
The groups have been supported through training, advice, networking and skill sharing to help them and their orchards become resilient and long lasting assets to their local area.
Funding for the project was made up of:
(delivery and management) £14,000
During this project we
These elements were funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, secured by Orchard Link. The delivery of the project was then contracted out to the Community Projects Officer at South Devon AONB, overseen by a steering group made up of members of the Orchard Link committee.
There was also a programme of site works delivered on the ground
These elements were funded by further public and private sector grants – County Council Locality Funds and the Langage Landscape Fund (s106). This funding was secured and administered by the South Devon AONB team.
We do not have final figures yet as the project is due to finish in Sept 2017.
As at June 2017
Excellent partnership with Orchard Link and a very supportive steering group (all volunteers).
We also had time to do a lot of consultation with the community orchard groups before putting the bid into HLF, this made a very strong case and we were able to show that the participants were keen to be involved and the level of commitment they were able to give. With the cash contribution from the AONB and Orchard Link, the percentage grant asked for was lower.
The HLF were keen to support non-capital works and explicitly stated they would not be interested in us planting new orchards, so we focused this money on working with existing orchards and their communities to ensure that they had the necessary skills to look after their sites and were able to engage more people from their community to be involved.
Once the Lottery money was secured, we were able to use this to attract other sources of funding to help the groups with landscape enhancements, small site works and planting as needed. This meant we were able to deliver a well-rounded project with landscape and community benefits.
Quote from project manager
“We have been really lucky to work with such an enthusiastic group of volunteers who are all passionate about caring for orchards across the South Devon AONB. Their hard work and commitment will ensure that these special places continue to be a vital and important space for all of the community to enjoy.” Nicky Bailey, South Devon AONB Community Projects Officer
Quote from participant of the project and member of public at one of the volunteer run events
“What a fantastic network day. Really enthused now! I’ve just had a great meeting with preschool and primary school. Getting ready for a programme of ideas and events!” Penny, Volunteer at Holbeton Community Orchard Group
“The weekend really brought our community together in a way that I haven’t felt before. It was creative, supportive and bonding to all get together and work to create something of beauty for the orchard. The vibe was one of willingness and happiness. I feel like the orchard evolved in quite a substantial way that weekend, with a lot of community energy put in to it. Basically, it was a really great weekend!” Sarah (member of community, Huxhams Cross community orchard)
Key search words: Communities, Orchards
Photo Credits: Grassland Management at Huxhams Cross Community Orchard, Benchmaking, Hemerdon cordon workshop – South Devon AONB