PHOTO: Martin Thatcher visits Weston Hospicecare, meeting community fundraisers Abi and Kirsty, to see apple trees planted for the Thatchers Community Orchard Project [Copyright Neil Phillips Photo and Film Ltd]
Community groups around the country have been planting apple trees this spring thanks to The Thatchers Community Orchard Project.
Attracting hundreds of applications in the project’s third year, from as far afield as Aberdeen to Worthing, the Somerset cider maker has supported over 100 groups wanting to enhance their communities, with 500 apple trees donated this year.
Including residents’ associations, parish councils, allotment groups, and care homes, five apple trees were donated to each of the successful applicants. To apply, they needed to explain why planting apple trees would make a difference to their communities.
“It’s always a real pleasure to distribute apple trees to organisations who really care about the community around them,” says Martin Thatcher, fourth generation of the cider making family. “We’ve been brought up with trees all around us at Myrtle Farm – so through this project we’re looking to spread apple tree love across the UK.
“With applications from the North of Scotland to the South West, from both rural and urban communities, by donating apple trees we can help communities in so many different ways – from helping green urban residential communities, providing an area of peace and solitude to care homes, and an educational resource to schools and colleges.”
With leading ciders such as Gold and Haze to its name, and over 500 acres of its own orchards in Somerset, Thatchers knows a thing or two about planting apple trees.
“There’s no better tree than an apple tree,” continues Martin. “From the tree’s beauty in spring when in full blossom, to the fascination of seeing the fruit develop throughout the summer, to the excitement of harvest, there’s always something new to see in an orchard.
“The enthusiasm we’ve seen amongst volunteers supporting their communities is inspirational, and we’re delighted to be playing our part with this community tree planting project.”
This is the third year the Somerset cider maker has run its Community Orchard Project, and brings the total number of organisations supported since launch to 175, with almost 1000 apple trees so far donated and planted across the country.
“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,” Martin concludes.
Thatchers Community Orchard Project was first run in 2021. The project attracted such demand in its first year, the family run cider maker decided to more than double the number of trees it gave away in its second year, and in its third year doubling the number of organisations it has supported.