Eleanor Thatcher visited The Farm Animal Sanctuary in Evesham, who received a bundle of apple trees as part of the 2022 Thatchers Community Orchard Project. L to r, Eleanor Thatcher (Thatchers Cider), Connah Barr, Jan Cooper and Nick Jones from The Farm Animal Sanctuary. Open to visitors during spring, summer and autumn, this year the charity is developing an unused area of land to create an area where local school pupils can take part in growing fruit and vegetables, and learn about nature.
50 community organisations across the UK have been planting young apple trees this spring as part of Thatchers Community Orchard project 2022. The Somerset cider maker has donated 350 apple trees to groups who applied to be a part of this year’s project, now in its second year. With 500 groups sending in applications, Thatchers selected this year’s recipients for their positive impact on their local communities.
“This is the second year we have run the project, doubling the number of trees we donated. With such an amazing number of groups applying to take part, we know there’s a massive appetite for planting trees, with people recognising the positive impact orchards, however big or small, can have on our lives,” says Martin Thatcher, fourth generation cider maker in Somerset.
“This year we’ve donated to schools & colleges, care homes & hospitals, urban neighbourhood groups, veteran support groups and allotment societies, to name but a few,” continues Martin. “It’s been an absolute privilege to read the applications, and to be able to help groups plant trees. We hope that by donating these trees they will make a difference to many people’s wellbeing.
“The project shares our family’s passion for apple trees, building communities and constant support of the environment and ecosystem around us today and for the future,” he says.
Thatchers Community Orchard Project was first run in 2021, when it gave away 120 apple trees to community groups up and down the country. The project attracted such demand in its first year, the family run cider maker decided to more than double the number of trees it donated this year, meaning more groups have been able to benefit.
Martin continues, “In the year of the Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, all eyes are on planting trees. It’s so important to keep planting not just for the environment around us, but for people to enjoy and benefit from.
“Community spaces that include trees and orchards are so important,” says Martin. “Whether it’s groups of trees within residential areas, a rewilding project, or perhaps a school environmental project, we’re really excited to have been able to donate more trees this year, and visit some of the projects to see for ourselves the difference they will make to people’s lives.”