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Walking Orchard Visits Birmingham

Walking Orchard Visits Birmingham to Mark New Project Set to Help Urban Communities Blossom

  • Up to 10 community orchards will be created in Birmingham by 2017
  • Neglected areas turned into orchards by the community, for the community
  • Launching with the planting of 100 trees for patients and the wider public at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
  • Orcharding is proven to offer a wide range of benefits, from bringing communities together to reducing loneliness in older people and enhancing skills

Press Release, 12th February 2015

Yesterday, Wednesday 11th February, – Birmingham’s Town Hall, Chamberlain Clock Tower and The Bullring were visited by a walking orchard of tree people to mark the arrival of a new project, Helping Britain Blossom, to the city. This project will see the creation and restoration of up to 10 urban orchards which will be cared for and managed by the community, for the community.

Urban community orchards are great news for the communities they serve. Studies* show they bring 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.

Birmingham is one of the four areas in which Helping Britain Blossom is creating and restoring community orchards as part of its year one plans. Overall, the project will be creating and restoring 100 community orchards across Britain by 2017.

Helping Britain Blossom is launching its first community orchard on a big scale at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. As part of a major tree planting weekend on the 21st and 22nd February, 400 trees will be planted. 100 of these will be fruit trees making up a Helping Britain Blossom orchard. The concept of a fruit orchard was thought up by the hospital itself as a way of benefitting staff and patients, as well as the wider community.

Volunteers have already planted over 1,000 trees on the hospital site and this new orchard will complement a number of health and wellbeing initiatives already in place, such as a monthly Farmer’s Market and a woodland walk.

Perry Hall Park is one of the other locations in which land has been officially secured for planting thanks to Helping Britain Blossom. Currently an underused ex-bowling green, community members will be planting up to 20 trees on 14th March.

Rob Tilling, Birmingham’s Helping Britain Blossom Project Manager, said: “For some communities in Birmingham, there’s little or no access to green space, or what they do have is really neglected. Through the support of Helping Britain Blossom, up to ten new urban community orchards are set to bring amazing benefits to the communities that need them most.”

Helping Britain Blossom is seeking volunteers to help out with planting for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital orchard project on 21st and 22nd Feb. Anyone keen to volunteer should contact Helping Britain Blossom Regional Project Manager for Birmingham, Rob Tilling, via emailing rob@theurbanorchardproject.org

Everyone can support Helping Britain Blossom on social media, using #GetFruity:

  • Facebook.com/HelpingBritainBlossom
  • Twitter: @HelpBritBloss
  • Instagram: HelpingBritainBlossom

*Studies from organisations like the London School of Economics and Political Science: Valuing the Socio-spatial benefits of common spaces, 28th August 2014

 

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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