The Orchard Champions programme was delivered in partnership with The Three Counties Orchard Project.
To read the full report from the project please click here.
The idea behind the Orchard Champion programme was to use the multiplier effect – investing intensively in a small group of participants who then reach out to the wider community, so that the outcome is many more people benefitting from the investment. Our expectations have been dramatically exceeded. 40 orchard champions have carried out over 2000 hours of work – from writing articles to manning stalls at fetes, giving talks, pruning orchards, providing advice and much more. They have also become an informal network of their own, sharing knowledge, asking for advice and offering assistance to orchard owners.
As the project developed we realised that many of the Champions were fulfilling the role initially envisaged with the’ Colwall model’ by going out into their local community and acting as orchard ambassadors. Some were forming or supporting orchard groups. The decision was taken, with HLF approval, to provide more Orchard Champions training instead of trying to set up local groups in our project areas, since this was achieving similar and very impressive results across the Three Counties, albeit not always where we had envisaged. This has been one of the great successes of the project and should mean that there are 40 orchard ambassadors in the Three Counties continuing to champion traditional orchards long after the project closes. Orchard Champions reported great satisfaction with the course and the project.