There’s still time to apply for a Veolia School Orchard

Veolia and Southend-on-Sea City Council are asking schools to help them deliver ecological transformation by applying for a Veolia Orchard.

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In 2022, Veolia Southend and their charity partners Groundwork, delivered 50 free fruit trees to 10 schools across the City. In 2023, we want to grow this network of orchards and support more schools on their environmental journeys.

This initiative was launched in 2022 to foster a deeper connection with nature whilst empowering students with the skills to take care of their local environments. 100 schools across the country are already benefiting from these powerful tools to educate pupils on the importance of planting trees and the biodiversity they support.

A Veolia Orchard is made up of five young fruit trees or, for those schools with more limited space, ten strawberry plants which can thrive in pots and bring nature and biodiversity to playgrounds, big or small.

Schools can apply online and have until Monday 24 July to apply. Successful applicants will be informed in September with deliveries taking place during October and November. The trees and plants will be accompanied by an information pack on how to plant and how to harvest the fruit, making this a unique learning opportunity for pupils.

Pascal Hauret, Managing Director, Municipal at Veolia said “It only takes five fruit trees to make an orchard but it takes a nation to grow a network of trees that can help us fight climate change and improve air quality for our children. In 2022, we were excited to see this new initiative take root. This year, we are overwhelmed by how successful Veolia Orchard has been and eager for this network to grow and thrive. With 100 schools already taking care of their trees in 2023, we encourage all schools to apply and help us deliver ecological transformation, one orchard at a time.”

Joe McIndoe, UK Partnerships Manager, Groundwork said “Groundwork is delighted to be working alongside Veolia to deliver the Veolia Orchard planting project for the second year running, with this year set to double the number of schools benefitting. It's such a simple yet impactful project to provide fruit trees and strawberry plants to schools across the country. More children can have the pleasure of picking and eating juicy fresh food whilst sitting in the dappled shade in the summer and providing a home, and food, for local biodiversity. A handy booklet will be provided to all schools so that they can plant and care for their new trees. We can't wait to see more smiling faces as they plant their trees in autumn."

Cllr Meg Davidson, cabinet member for environment, Southend City Council said: “We are delighted to give our continued support to Veolia's national orchard campaign here in Southend-on-Sea. Any opportunity to help educate local children on the importance of tree planting is something we will always look to encourage. It also helps us increase the number of trees in the City - a key part of our Green City Action Plan to help us reach net zero carbon by 2030 and increase our tree canopy City-wide. I urge all our local schools that have sufficient outdoor space to apply to be part of this incredible project.”

Published: 12th July 2023

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