Our partnership with HEINEKEN UK has been transformational. Together, we’ve scaled up our operations to a national level, forged greater community cohesion and allowed disadvantaged groups to contribute to making their cities more sustainable.
In October 2014, Heineken UK and The Orchard Project launched the UK’s largest ever community orchard support programme. Through this collaboration, we have taken huge strides in realising our vision: to ensure that every household in the UK’s towns and cities is within walking distance of a community orchard.
The Partnership’s Legacy: Highlights and Statistics
- Orchard Creation: we created and restored over 200 community orchards across England and Scotland, bringing thousands of people vital access to greenspace, to local friendships, new skills, fresh fruit and wellbeing opportunities.
- Empowering Communities: we have engaged over 38,000 people in our growing orchard movement through outdoor events, skills training workshops and networking summits. We’ve passed on our passion for orchards to groups of volunteers, who are now enthusiastically caring for fruit trees across the country. Our focus has been on supporting low-income and disadvantaged communities who have limited access to greenspaces.
- Environmental & social impact: our partnership has contributed to attaining eight of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development; community orchards are helping to create sustainable cities and communities.
- Innovation: the flexibility of the partnership has enabled us to take a reflective and innovative approach to working with communities and orchards. As well as scaling up our support nationally, other unique outputs include:
- Participatory budgeting
- A bespoke, wooden Orchard Design Kit
- Participatory budgeting
- An Orchard Mentors Programme
- VeloJuicer, – an off-grid, bicycle-powered apple scratter and juicer
- CICO – the first nationally accredited course in community orchard management
Heineken colleague engagement: we created tailored experiences for staff, from mucking in with apple pressing at our Community Cider Hub, to long-term community-embedded volunteering in orchards. We even brought in celebrity, Peter Andre, to accomplish a full ‘Orchard Makeover’ in a day.
James Crampton, Head of Corporate Affairs at Heineken UK, says:
“Our partnership with The Orchard Project has been the perfect way to bring communities together across the UK where it is most needed. The team at Heineken have hugely enjoyed planting orchards, juicing apples and lending a hand. To have 200 thriving orchards in the ground is an incredible achievement”.
In the words of our orchard volunteers:
“I feel calmer; it makes a huge difference to my mental health issues.”
“At my age keeping active is incredibly important, so having a volunteering experience that enables this is brilliant. Emotionally, you feel so proud of what you’ve achieved.”
“I got an actual job as a gardener thanks to my volunteering work”