Two weeks ago, we succeeded in turning a run-down, neglected orchard in a Manchester park into a gleaming, welcoming greenspace for the community in just 24 hours. This special event marks our exciting partnership with Bulmers, whose support enables to us continue planting, restoring and championing community orchards across England and Scotland. Among the brilliant and diligent volunteer presence, one particular special celebrity guest turned up to lend a hand.
Household name, Peter Andre, joined a team of around 30 volunteers in a heroic orchard restoration challenge at Platt Fields park in south Manchester. Working against the clock, our brilliant volunteers pulled out all the stops to create raised beds and new paths; and to prune, plant, mulch and revive the fruit trees. New flowers and herbs were also planted in neatly-hedged quadrants, selected to fit with a Shakespearean theme as befits the namesake of this area of the park (known as the Shakespearean Gardens).
Andre and Bulmers collaborated with The Orchard Project’s team to shine a light on the importance of urban green spaces and the benefits of traditional orchards as focal points for local communities. The event also celebrates our five year partnership with Bulmers (launched in 2014 as ‘the Helping Britain Blossom’ programme) With their support, we have created and restored more than 200 orchards, engaged around 12,000 people with their local community orchard and trained over 200 Orchard Leaders. Over 50 volunteers have also gained a certified, formal qualification in community orchard management through our expertise.
Community orchards are a fantastic way to unite people and encourage outdoor activity, while encouraging communities to look after their local green spaces. After getting stuck in with the day’s tasks, Andre said:
“It’s amazing to think that hidden within hundreds of urban communities are orchards similar to this, where people can come together and benefit from a bit of fresh air!”
Bulmers cider is made from 100% British apples. This fits in well with our own mission to encourage home-grown fruit consumption, cutting out food miles almost entirely, as well as our passion for resurrecting the delicious British apple and pear cultivars that are now hard to find in this age of global trade. Eva Stensland, Senior Brand Manager for Bulmers, shares our enthusiasm for orchards:
“Our partnership with The Orchard Project allows us to share our passion for orcharding with thousands of people and give them the ability to access green spaces, which are on often on their doorstep.”
Watch the video of this exciting race against the clock and marvel at the end result!