50 community organisations across the UK have been planting young apple trees this spring as part of Thatchers Community Orchard project 2022. We’re really pleased to have been able to donate 350 apple trees to groups who applied to be a part of this year’s project, now in its second year. With 500 groups sending in applications, this year’s recipients were all selected for their positive impact on their local communities.
“This is the second year we have run the project, doubling the number of trees we donated. With such an amazing number of groups applying to take part, we know there’s a massive appetite for planting trees, with people recognising the positive impact orchards, however big or small, can have on our lives,” says Martin Thatcher.
“This year we’ve donated to schools & colleges, care homes & hospitals, urban neighbourhood groups, veteran support groups and allotment societies, to name but a few,” continues Martin. “It’s been an absolute privilege to read the applications, and to be able to help groups plant trees. We hope that by donating these trees they will make a difference to many people’s wellbeing.
“The project shares our family’s passion for apple trees, building communities and constant support of the environment and ecosystem around us today and for the future,” he says.
Thatchers Community Orchard Project was first run in 2021, when it gave away 120 apple trees to community groups up and down the country. The project attracted such demand in its first year, we decided to more than double the number of trees we donated this year, meaning more groups have been able to benefit.
Martin continues, “In the year of the Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, all eyes are on planting trees. It’s so important to keep planting not just for the environment around us, but for people to enjoy and benefit from.
“Community spaces that include trees and orchards are so important. Whether it’s groups of trees within residential areas, a rewilding project, or perhaps a school environmental project, we’re really excited to have been able to donate more trees this year, and visit some of the projects to see for ourselves the difference they will make to people’s lives.”
Here’s just some of the projects we’ve supported:
Eleanor Thatcher visited The Farm Animal Sanctuary in Evesham, who received a bundle of apple trees as part of the 2022 Thatchers Community Orchard Project. L to r, Eleanor Thatcher (Thatchers Cider), Connah Barr, Jan Cooper and Nick Jones from The Farm Animal Sanctuary. Open to visitors during spring, summer and autumn, this year the charity is developing an unused area of land, which has a brook running in it, to create an area where local school pupils can take part in growing vegetables and fruit, and learn about nature.
Martin Thatcher visited Barton Fields in Bristol, where Mike and Tina Bond are creating a community garden. They applied and received apple trees as part of the 2022 Thatchers Community Orchard Project. The community space, adjacent to the local rugby club, includes a wildlife garden and nature area, with the volunteers working hard to provide a greener space for the inner city community.
Eleanor Thatcher met Ally Middleton at Evesham Community Hospital. The Learning and Development team at the hospital are undertaking a project to turn a disused courtyard in-between the clinical and education buildings into a safe space for all staff to take a break and socialise in fresh air or enjoy their lunch in the shadow of some lovely plants and trees.
The Friends of Knowle West Children’s Centre successfully applied for apple trees to plant in the school grounds as part of the Thatchers Community Orchard Project 2022. One of the school’s ethos is loving and learning about the outside, with its school chef using fresh produce grown in the school’s garden. They are looking forward to being able to pick and enjoy the apples from these young trees. Front: Pupil Zachary and head teacher Jenny MacDonald, backrow Tatiana Bartlett and Martin Thatcher at Knowle West Children’s Centre.
Peter Thatcher visited David Skidmore, who received an apple tree for his community garden in Worle as part of the 2022 Thatchers Community Orchard Project. L to r (front), Muriel Skidmore and Peter Thatcher (Thatchers Cider), (back) David Skidmore, Kelly March, Wayne Matthews and Simon Burr. The community garden, called Stanley’s Garden after David’s grandfather, is primarily for the elderly who live locally, helping those with dementia with plants and flowers for each of the senses