An environmental and wellbeing initiative that will benefit communities across the north of England has been launched by Lakes and Dales Co-op.

‘Lakes and Dales Community Orchard’ funding will allow fruit trees and bushes to be planted across the communities Lakes and Dales Co-op serves. The sites, of five or more plants, will then form part of a region wide orchard.

The retailer is seeking a group near each of its stores to plant five or more fruit trees or bushes within a community space. They will award £200 to each successful applicant, to fund the purchase of plants.

The initiative has been created to encourage people to work together, increasing physical activity and improving local environments.

Orchards offer volunteering opportunities throughout the year as well as the chance to learn new skills, create habitats for wildlife and produce an array of edible produce.

John Brodie, Chief Executive of Lakes and Dales Co-op, said: “We love the idea that lots of people doing something simple locally, like planting fruit trees or bushes, not only benefits those close to them but allows them to be part of something so much bigger – an orchard spanning the region weaving through our communities. We all recognise the value that green spaces bring. Lakes and Dales Co-op is thrilled to provide the funding for our communities to plant, grow, learn, and let nature thrive.”

Karen Davidson from Social Farms and Gardens, who are providing advice to budding growers, said: “We are so excited to see Lakes and Dales leading the way, creating a network of micro-orchards across Scotland through this funding.”

“Community orchards are part of a local food system. Promoting the health benefits of fresh produce and outdoor exercise to people of all age groups, orchards are excellent places for people to come together and enjoy the outdoors, whilst providing a focal point for community activities.”

Lakes and Dales Co-op is seeking a group near each of its stores across the north of England to plant five or more fruit trees or bushes. To apply and for more information, please click here

For advice and resources click here

Applications close on 20th January 2023.

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