01/12/2023 - Permalink

Communities offered free trees to grow their own orchards

Related topics: Climate change / environment / Community / Partner organisations

Community groups across Shropshire are being offered the chance to grow their own King’s Orchards for free after Shropshire Council was granted more than £12,000 from the Coronation Living Heritage Fund.

Shropshire Council has 200 fruit trees, including apple, pear, plum and damson trees, to be given away in mixed groups of at least five trees, and any town council or parish council, housing association, residents group or school will be able to apply to create their own community orchard.

King's Orchard scheme graphic, showing drawings of people and trees

King’s Orchard scheme

Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said:-

“This is an excellent opportunity for communities to grow their own orchards and help improve Shropshire’s bio-diversity. Sadly, since the 1950s, 90 per cent of our traditional orchards have been lost, yet traditional orchards are fantastic for wildlife as they’re made up of different habitats, including woodland, hedgerow and meadow grassland.

“Planting community orchards will make the most of valuable underused green spaces for the benefit of local communities, as well as providing training and learning opportunities for local people, producing fruit for local people to enjoy, cutting food miles and helping with the cost of living.

The orchards can be the focus of traditional events. Events such as harvest festivals, wassailing and work parties will help bring local people closer together and build community cohesion, and school orchards will help children learn about where their food comes from, how to grow and maintain the trees, as well as how to enjoy the harvest by tucking into some healthy fruit.

“Shropshire Council has the intention to plant 345,000 trees by 2030 to achieve our goal of being carbon net zero by the same year. Planting more fruit trees will ‘lock up’ carbon, contributing to that ambition. I can see some great opportunities for groups to develop their community orchards and to reap the whole range of rewards for their efforts.”

The trees are available free of charge and must be planted in groups of at least five to make an orchard. For more information visit https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/environment/trees-woodlands-and-hedges/coronation-living-heritage-fund-clhf-community-orchards-scheme-in-shropshire/ or to make an application, please contact Nick Rowles: nick.rowles@shropshire.gov.uk

Further information

Coronation Living Heritage Fund is supported by £2.5m in funding, made available through Defra’s £758m Nature for Climate Fund to allow county, unitary, metropolitan, London borough, district and city councils the chance to apply for up to two grants for projects ranging between £10,000 and £50,000. The funding will support the development of micro woods and community orchards and commemorate the King’s Coronation. Funds can be distributed across projects in their area.

Through the England Trees Action Plan and supported by the £758m Nature for Climate Fund, Defra will help to transform the treescape and the forestry sector helping to put the UK on track to meet net zero targets, reverse the decline in nature and support economic growth.

Shropshire Council was granted £12,531 for the King’s Orchard project.