Somerset cider-maker Thatchers has 500 apple trees to give away to community groups up and down the country.
In the fourth year of its Community Orchard Project, Thatchers is looking for fifty organisations doing great things in their local neighbourhoods, to be the 2024 recipients of ten apple trees each enabling them to sow the seeds of their own community orchard.
To date, Thatchers has donated over 1,000 apple trees to local organisations and groups, each looking to put the apples they grow to good use with their communities.
“This project is all about community,” said Martin Thatcher, fourth generation of his family to make cider at Myrtle Farm in Somerset. “It’s about understanding how apple trees can not only bring joy, but can act as a means of bringing people together. Whether that’s planting the trees and contributing to the growth of orchards, learning about the lifecycle of a delicious apple, or coming together to press fruit at harvest time, apple trees are a wonderful way to create community spirit.
“Growing apple trees really matters.”
Thatchers is therefore appealing to community groups, charities and organisations to apply to the 2024 project, which opens on 3 January and runs until Monday 5 February. Applying is easy – simply fill in the details requested on the online application form, with a brief description of your organisation and the good things that would come from receiving a bundle of 10 apple trees in 2024.
Thatchers is keen to hear about local groups and charities doing great things in their communities, in both rural and inner city areas. Perhaps those growing fruit and veg for those in need; those working with groups who have little access to outside space; groups who use outdoor space to improve the mental health of their communities; or perhaps residential communities who are looking at ways to bring trees into their lives.
Thatchers Cider, which is celebrating its 120 year anniversary in 2024, has been growing apple trees and making cider in Somerset since 1904. It has used its knowledge of apple varieties to create ciders with individual character and great taste all round, such as Thatchers Gold and Thatchers Haze.
Martin adds, “We all know that planting trees helps the environment and supports biodiversity, but being out in nature is so good for wellbeing too. Over the last three years our project has been able to help over 175 groups across the country from residents associations rewilding their communities; schools and colleges teaching their pupils about the origins of their food; and care homes creating peaceful havens for residents.”