Sponsor scheme launched for community orchard

Richard Hitchcock at the orchardPeople in Emsworth and Westbourne are being invited to remember a loved one, or mark a special event, by sponsoring a tree at their new community orchard. Applications are now open.

The orchard, at Hampshire Farm Meadows, has been set up by local environmental group Greening Westbourne.

Since November, the group has planted 16 apple trees on the site, on the border of the two communities. Now local people are being invited to adopt one of the trees, or buy more. They can remember a family member or mark a special occasion with a dedication plate.

The goal is to have up to 60 fruit trees on the site, with benches nearby and eventually a regular harvest of apples, pears, plum and apricots.

The orchard is on new public open space, popular with local people, next to the Redlands Grange housing development.

Richard Hitchcock, of Greening Westbourne, said: "The orchard is under way, with the first apples starting to grow, and we now have a scheme set up for people to adopt an existing tree or sponsor a new one.

"They can go to our website and download an application form. We're sure local residents, or anyone with a local connection, will want to sponsor trees in memory of loved ones, as gifts, or just to help us fund the orchard.

"Our idea is to help preserve traditional fruit varieties and help local people, especially children, get a bit closer to the earth. Growing food locally reminds us that it doesn't always have to be flown thousands of miles across the world."

A group of volunteers recruited by Greening Westbourne have been working to get the orchard established. Along with local people, Westbourne's Beavers, Cubs and Scouts have been helping to plant trees. Local tree surgeon Mike Reed has also being lending his expertise, and Havant Borough Council have supported the project.

It costs £50 to sponsor or adopt a tree, and dedication plates are £30. All money will go into orchard funds, used to buy new trees and maintain the area.

To apply, search Greening Westbourne online and go to the 'news' section of the site. To contact the group, email greeningwestbourne@hotmail.co.uk

Posted on Wed, 24/08/2016 - 16:40