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Now community orchard partnership will transform urban areas and upskill 4,000 people

100 community orchards to be created across the country
Up to 90,000 people will benefit and 4,000 will gain new skills
Transforming neglected areas at the heart of their communities

A new project, which will create and restore over a hundred orchards across the country, is being launched on National Apple Day (Today, 21st October 2014.)

Helping Britain Blossom will support local people to create and restore 100 community orchards by 2017.  By working directly with community groups, Helping Britain Blossom will help up to 4,000 people learn new skills; and deliver transformational benefits to their local communities.

Helping Britain Blossom will be delivered in partnership by HEINEKEN, The Orchard Project and The Bulmer Foundation. In the first year, it will work at grassroots level in London, Birmingham, Hereford and Edinburgh before expanding in to other urban areas in year two.  The aim is to create sustainable, long-term orchards planted and managed by the community, for the community.

Helping Britain Blossom was launched on National Apple Day by Diversity star, Ashley Banjo, at a thriving urban orchard in East London, showcasing what can be achieved. Ashley is no stranger to transforming communities himself, and was on hand to lend his support to the project.

He said: “I am really excited about what these guys are planning to do together, and delighted to champion Helping Britain Blossom. Orchards create a natural hub for communities – a place where people can get together and learn new skills, as well as enjoying the fruits of their labours. It’s a great reason to get outside, get muddy and #GetFruity with your neighbours.”

The results of a poll, released to mark the launch of the project, show that across the country around 10 million people (1) do not have access to usable green space, despite a quarter wanting to ‘grow their own’. Additionally, 73 percent say that they “don’t know their neighbours very well”; fewer than half do not engage in any activity in their communities and a third of pensioners want activities to help combat loneliness(3).

David Forde, Managing Director for HEINEKEN commented: “This new project is about bringing people together, in an exciting and practical way, to create lasting change in the areas in which they live. As a cider maker, orchards are hugely important to our business. We also know that they can have real benefits for urban communities. We want to share our passion for orchards with communities across the country.  I look forward to seeing the groups, and their orchards, blossom over the next few years.”

Kath Rosen from The Orchard Project: “Orchards are a great way to bring communities together. Everybody can play their part, however big or small. A community orchard isn’t just a collection of trees, it’s a community of people working together to make the local area a better place to live, work and enjoy.”

The Helping Britain Blossom website (helpingbritainblossom.org.uk) provides expert advice and inspirational project ideas. Everyone can support Helping Britain Blossom via the following: Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/HelpingBritainBlossom; Twitter  https://twitter.com/HelpBritBloss  and Instagram http://instagram.com/helpingbritainblossom

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Why Orchards Orchards have played an important role in our communities for hundreds of years, providing a communal space for gatherings and celebrations. Find an Orchard Our ambition by 2017 is to help 100 communities to plant, care for and restore their own orchards. And to get things going, we're focusing on cities and towns in seven parts of the UK