Last November, a group of young people from North Staffordshire came together to plant an orchard of fruit trees on their YMCA grounds. They were one of 10 groups in England to have done the same this winter, as part of the Fruit-full Communities project. Fruit-full Communities is a four year project managed by Learning through Landscapes in which ITF, YMCAs and The Orchard Project are all partners.
Kicking off last summer, young people at North Staffordshire YMCA started by discussing their site and visiting a local community orchard to get some ideas. The group then developed their own ideas and made a plan for the orchard, deciding what trees they wanted to plant and what other elements they wanted to incorporate into the space.
As part of the project, young people in the UK involved in the project are in contact with ITF’s community partners in Africa. Many of the groups we work with in Africa are made up of young people who have come together to tackle deforestation and environmental degradation. At North Staffordshire YMCA, the group discussed the importance of trees for people globally at their Community Meal in October, as well as talking about food miles.
The trees have now been planted in the ‘Lydia Louise Orchard’ – named in memory of participants’ Thomas and Ebony’s daughter who sadly passed away soon after she was born.
Fruit-full Communities aims to address some of society’s toughest challenges including lack of social cohesion, climate change and environmental degradation. The project is financed by the Big Lottery Fund through the Our Bright Future initiative.