Royal Borough announces successful projects awarded funding to create community orchards

Community orchard projects revealed

Seven projects have been awarded grants to create community orchards and give a boost to nature thanks to national funding secured by the Royal Borough.

The successful organisations are Trevelyan Middle School’s PTA for an orchard at the Windsor school, Braywood Memorial Hall in Fifield and Nature’s Haven, which has plans for an orchard at Maidenhead Community Centre. 

The other successful applicants are Boyn Grove allotments, Maidenhead, the Odney Club, Cookham, Cookham Parish Council for a project at the Sutton Road allotments in the village and Thames Hospice in Bray for an orchard in its grounds.

Community groups, schools, landowners and residents were invited to apply for funding available to create their very own orchard in the borough after the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead’s Sustainability Team successfully secured £27,000 from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s Coronation Living Heritage Fund.

The fund celebrates the Coronation of King Charles III and was specifically established to support local tree planting initiatives. Grants of up to £6,000 were available.
Along with allocating the funding, the council will provide expertise and practical advice and support to successful applicants in planning successful plantings, which are expected to take place next month, as well as support in monitoring and maintaining their orchards. There will be the opportunity to link the successful applicants with corporate and community groups to offer them volunteering opportunities to help plant and fence the new orchards. 

In selecting the schemes, the council has prioritised those with the highest chances of practical success in establishing the trees over the coming years, those with greatest value to wildlife and biodiversity and providing the most cultural and social value in terms of likely community engagement with the orchards.

Councillor Karen Davies, Cabinet member for climate change and biodiversity, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who applied for funding and congratulate those who have been successful. We have chosen wonderful projects and I’m looking forward to seeing the orchards planted and residents and visitors enjoying them. This project not only supports our climate change and biodiversity ambitions but is a fantastic way to get the community involved in a fun and healthy activity. We’ve planted more than 20,000 trees around the borough in the last few years, but we want to expand this and offer more residents the chance to get outdoors and make a positive contribution to their environment, while also learning more about wildlife and conservation, and the upcoming plantings will provide the perfect opportunity.

“We know from historical data that as a borough, we have lost many of our ancient orchards, along with the cultural value and niche habitats they offer. This project can act as a counterweight to that decline and gives us the opportunity to improve our environment for people and nature. Planting trees helps to sequester carbon dioxide, enhances biodiversity, and creates green spaces for both residents and visitors to enjoy. The borough is the lead authority for Berkshire’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy, and this scheme can align with that emerging strategy, helping us to promote habitat creation.”