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D'Eynsford Community Orchard

Posted on 10 April 2018

Project name: D'Eynsford Community Orchard

Borough: Southwark

Amount awarded: £5,883

Number of volunteers: 10 - 22

Number of beneficiaries: Up to 1000 residents

The D’Eynsford Community Orchard Project, run by D’Eynsford TMO, are planting 25 fruit trees and 12 fruit bushes – including other beneficial plants – across two sites within the D’Eynsford Estate. Planting has taken place in a series of workshops involving residents of the estate. The aim is to give residents nice open spaces where they can gather informally, breaking down barriers and social isolation and to provide a source of food for educational cooking clubs.

D’Eynsford Estate has over 360 properties, with more than 1,000 residents. 25 of these are sheltered homes for the vulnerable and 36 are temporary homes for refugee and migrant communities. D’Eynsford TMO regularly set up gardening workshops attended by a diverse range of residents and have seen the positive impact this engagement has had on them.

“My son has been so excited to plant trees, it is his dream to do this when he grows up. I was so happy to give him this as there is not much opportunity for tree planting in this country.” – Fadime, project participant

Whilst all residents are welcome to attend workshops, they are mainly targeted at those who are vulnerable and isolated. In particular, this project has had a positive effect on one man living in sheltered housing who has a learning disability, who likes to contribute by sitting with everybody, making tea, and setting up music. Previously he was very isolated and did not know how to engage with people, but he is now an integrated member of the community. His personality is said to have shone since this project!

The Greener City Fund Community Tree Planting grant awarded £5,883 to this project. Nature education organisation Urban Canopy were enlisted to source the tools and materials in addition to running the planting workshops. There has been a total of 6 community planting sessions, where many different kinds of fruit trees were planted, including plum (Lindsay Gage, Victoria, Farleigh Damson), pear (Beth, Annie Elizabeth), apple (Arthur Turner, Gala, Sunset), cherry (Merton Premier) and quince (Vranja).

“A hugely successful project, where everybody has got involved and given us the foundation to carry out more projects like this in the future. Thank you!” –  Chay Bulger, Estate Manager at D’Eynsford TMO

When asked what advice they would offer to groups doing similar projects, D’Eynsford recommend being prepared to accept any changes that need to be made along the way. They treated their first volunteer workshop as a trial run for future workshops - to indicate whether they had enough equipment, how many volunteers they could expect and whether they had allowed enough time for planting. For example, they found that the ground was much harder than expected, so they needed to buy additional tools.

To ensure their project is sustainable, Community Gardeners have been employed to lead planting and maintenance workshops so that members of the community will be equipped to manage the orchard.
Participants cannot wait to see the results of their hard work and to taste the fruit of their labours.

Find out how your organisation could benefit from a Greener City Fund grant.