Westmorland and Furness Council has launched a new Community Orchard Grant Scheme to help community groups establish community orchards in their local areas.
As part of celebrations to mark the King’s Coronation, the council has been allocated £50,000 from the Coronation Living Heritage Fund, a local tree planting initiative supported by Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund.
Community groups, charities, schools and community spaces in Westmorland and Furness are encouraged to apply for funding to establish a community orchard in their local area.
A community orchard is a shared space where people can grow fruit and nuts. They are a great way to bring people together, improve the natural environment, and provide access to fresh, local produce.
Grants of up to £15,000 are available to plant a minimum of 5 fruit and/or nut trees. The funding can be used to cover the costs of establishing an orchard such as ground preparation, purchasing and planting trees, and protection and irrigation.
Councillor Giles Archibald, Cabinet Member for Climate and Biodiversity, said:
“With it being National Tree Week, it is wonderfully appropriate that we are able to announce our support for this initiative which will help to deliver a range of benefits to not only our natural environment but to our local communities.
“Community orchards are great for our pollinators and an opportunity for people to learn about wildlife, planting, and maintenance of trees. They provide fresh, local and healthy food to people, as well as support wildlife and improve the land in a natural way.”
Councillor Virginia Taylor, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, added:
“I am delighted that communities across Westmorland and Furness will be able to plant trees and enjoy them as they grow, flower and fruit. Community orchards show how easy it is to grow delicious local food. Just being amongst trees boosts health and wellbeing and community orchards are peaceful and productive places where people can enjoy being alone or doing things together.
“We are fortunate to have many active and involved communities in Westmorland and Furness and I hope many schools, community groups, charities, and community spaces will consider applying.”
The closing date for applications is 12.00pm on Monday 8 January 2024.