Fruit-full Communities, part of the Our Bright Future partnership programme, work with young people living in YMCA and other housing schemes, supported lodgings and/or attend youth groups across England and Wales. Together they design and plant orchards, learn new practical skills and explore enterprise opportunities and careers in the Green Economy. They gain better understanding of the importance of trees in protecting the environment and make connections with other young people who are involved with tree planting on the African continent.
The second year of the project is now complete with a total of 278 trees and many more fruit bushes planted. Over 500 young people, both YMCA and Foyer Federation residents and users, engaged in the project and were supported by 177 volunteers and 77 support workers. Together they created 16 unique and inspiring spaces that young people feel proud of and use on a daily basis to relax, socialise and grow their own fruit.
As Ellie McNeil, CEO from YMCA Liverpool said: “The Orchard Project has been fantastic for YMCA Liverpool, young people have planned exactly what they would like to see from the Orchard and have learned about planting and encouraging wildlife in the process. It is an excellent example of co-production, empowering young people to take charge of a project and see it through from development to completion. Moreover, the Orchard has helped us to develop a really positive partnership with some of our local schools, something that we are looking forward to developing further. It has also been great for the young people we support, one young person is now a member of the Fruit-full Communities Panel and is involved on a regional and national basis. Our Orchard has taken an unused area of Dutch Farm and brought it to life and it will continue to be used for years to come.”
To recognise the hard work that young people, staff and volunteers have put into creating these amazing spaces, we organise an annual orchard competition where sites are encouraged to showcase their achievements over their orchard journey. This year’s competition entries were judged by project partners, last year’s winners as well as representatives from Our Bright Future.
Selecting winners proved challenging as all entries were of an extremely high standard, but eventually the top three were chosen.
We now have the pleasure of announcing the winners of the second Fruit-full Communities annual Orchard Competition:
- 1st Place: YMCA White Rose
- 2nd joint place: YMCA Barnsley (allotment) and YMCA Liverpool
Each winning site has now been notified and in due course will receive a cash prize to be spent on supporting the new orchards and the young people who so enthusiastically helped to create them.
“The introduction of an orchard at Mount Tabor was a great opportunity for people to come together to work on a brand new organic project. Young people and families were able to contribute their ideas and share special moments together, learning about nature right on their doorstep. The project has enabled YMCA White Rose to strengthen links with partners in Sheffield, including Parson Cross Initiative, Mount Tabor Methodist Church and LEAF, which we hope will blossom, just like the orchard.“ Nicola Harding, Reaching Communities Project Coordinator, YMCA White Rose
We are now in the process of recruiting sites for the final (3rd) year of the Fruit-full Communities project, so if you are interested please contact email@example.com
The Big Lottery Fund has invested £33 million in more than 30 projects, including Fruit–full Communities, to inspire and develop the next generation of environmental leaders through the Our Bright Future programme, led by The Wildlife Trusts. By improving the physical environment in towns and cities across England and Wales, often in deprived areas, the Fruit-full Communities initiative encourages physical activity associated with green spaces and in the process helps improve young people’s mental health and self-esteem.
This unique project is a collaborative partnership established by outdoor learning and play specialists Learning through Landscapes, YMCA England and Wales, International Tree Foundation and The Orchard Project.