Helping Britain Blossom - a new orchard at Pomona Grove Back

Mar 20, 2016

 
People in the photos:
  • Pete Norton - Helping Britain Blossom - Navy Hat
  • Matthew Vincent – Herefordshire Housing - HH Jacket
  • Alan Davies - Orchard Leader - Dark Green Coat, Glasses
  • Matthew Cole – Orchard Leader - Blue Hoody, Body Warmer
  • Linda Cropper - Volunteer - Blue Top, Glasses
  • Chris Clements - Volunteer - Blue Top, Purple Trousers
  • Zachary Vincent - Volunteer - Child, Black Top
  • Sue Gubbay - Volunteer - Green Coat
  • Darren Roberts - Logmoor Ltd, Site Manager - Blue Berghus Fleece
 

The latest new orchard to be planted in Herefordshire is at Pomona Grove in the village of Upton Bishop near Ross-on-Wye where Herefordshire Housing, a local housing association, is building a development of 10 affordable houses, flats and bungalows.

Helping Britain Blossom, in partnership with Orchard Origins, part of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, is creating a community orchard on the site with the enthusiastic support of local volunteers. Once planted (planting day is on Saturday 19th March), it will feature 12 different fruit trees chosen by local volunteers, including specific Herefordshire heritage apple varieties such as Kings Acre Pippin and Herefordshire Russet and a number of local plum varieties from neighbouring Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

Two orchard leaders who are volunteers from the local community have received orchard management training from Helping Britain Blossom and Orchard Origins, enabling them to learn the fundamentals of planting and maintaining an orchard and passing on that knowledge to others. Matthew Cole, who lives in Upton Bishop and works as a senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of Gloucestershire is one of the Orchard Leaders. His role within Pomona Grove orchard has been to engage the support of the local community and liaise with the parish council and Herefordshire Housing who have responsibility for the land and the housing development respectively:

"I was aware of Herefordshire’s strong heritage in orchards but knew nothing about them personally. But when a leaflet dropped through my letterbox about the plans for a brand new orchard at Pomona Grove I knew straight away that I wanted to get involved.

"As a lecturer in nutrition I understand the importance of educating people about where food comes from and orchards are a fantastic opportunity to do this.  In three years or so, once the trees are established, the community’s efforts to plant and maintain this orchard will pay off, and there will be free fruit for all to enjoy.

"The local community has been heavily involved in choosing the varieties we are planting and such has been the enthusiasm, it is already identifying other sites within the parish to plant more fruit trees.”

Herefordshire Housing first identified the opportunity to incorporate an orchard into the Pomona Grove development in 2015 on an area of land that would have just been open space. Instead it will now feature a community orchard and allotments. 

Development officer Matthew Vincent explains: "The development at Upton Bishop gave us the perfect opportunity to enhance local community wellbeing by incorporating an orchard, to be run by community members. The orchard will integrate the new development into the rural area and places the foundations for new relationships to be built between the current and new residents – ultimately enhancing what is already a respectful and caring community.”

Pete Norton is Helping Britain Blossom’s project manager for Herefordshire, a huge responsibility given the county’s orchard heritage:

"There are 10,000 acres of cider orchards in the county of Herefordshire, more than any other county in Britain. Part of the work Helping Britain Blossom is doing, in conjunction with its partners, is not only to restore old orchards that may have been abandoned and forgotten, but to plant brand new orchards which keep traditions alive at the same time as teaching a new generation about the benefits they bring.

"Community orchards in particular are wonderful assets, bringing people together from different backgrounds to socialise, develop new skills and re-connect with nature. We can already see that happening at Pomona Grove, a new development where not everyone knows each other. It’s a great place for people to get together and meet, share experiences and continue Herefordshire’s great tradition of fruit growing.”

Julia Morton from Orchard Origins, part of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, has been involved in the training of the orchard leaders and has an equipment sharing arrangement with Helping Britain Blossom for its local orchards.
 

For further information and images, please contact:

Louise Barnett 07713 742685 / louisebarnettpr@hotmail.co.uk

 

Alternatively email Pete Norton at pete@theurbanorchardproject.org, become a friend of Helping Britain Blossom on Facebook or visit the Helping Britain Blossom website: www.helpingbritainblossom.org.uk.

 
 

Notes to Editors

1. Urban orchard benefits

Studies (from organisations like the London School of Economics and Political Science: Valuing the Socio-spatial benefits of common spaces, 28th August 2014) show urban orchards offer a wide range of social, environmental and educational benefits. These include improving community cohesion, reducing loneliness, enhancing bio-diversity and improving local surroundings. Community orchards also provide local people with valuable new skills, which can help boost their employment prospects, as well as being a valuable source of nutritious, free fruit.

2. Information about the founders of Helping Britain Blossom *

Helping Britain Blossom is a partnership between HEINEKEN, The Urban Orchard Project and The Bulmer Foundation, and is creating and restoring over 100 community orchards across Britain by 2017. 

About The Urban Orchard Project

The Urban Orchard Project is a pioneering charity, dedicated to creating skilled communities that plant, care for and harvest fruit trees, whilst connecting communities and increasing access to fruit. During their five years operating in London they have worked with communities to create orchards, which are now being managed by skilled community orchard leaders. They have been inspired over the years by other orchard groups throughout the UK and want to share the magic of orchards with them, learning together and supporting each other to establish a skilled and passionate UK orchard movement.

About Heineken

HEINEKEN recognises a responsibility to enable the communities in which it lives, works and operates to be more sustainable.

Orchards are at the heart of its business.  Around 30% of all the apples grown in the UK go in to making its ciders and it sources around 1.6 billion apples every year from around 10,000 acres of orchards – most of which are in Herefordshire.  Helping Britain Blossom will share the magic of orchards with communities across the country and create a positive lasting legacy for the future.

About The Bulmer Foundation

The Bulmer Foundation is a charity, which enables and demonstrates sustainable development, especially within Herefordshire. The Foundation works collaboratively with communities, businesses and statutory agencies on projects that demonstrate and initiate sustainable development principles and practices. Through its education and advocacy programmes it communicates good practice and supports and empowers people to adopt and sustain change. It works with opinion formers and policy leaders to enable more sustainable practices.

 

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