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Autumn Update

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

On 12th October we reached the exciting milestone of planting our first plants in the garden - with 6 heritage fruit trees kindly donated by the Copse Community Orchard Project! We have planted 4 apple trees and 2 pear trees, all with an interesting story of their heritage and several with local links. Autumn is the ideal time to plant trees and it was exciting to get our own orchard going in this way!

On the financial side our fantastic fund raising lead, Deepa, has so far managed to procure over £40 000 in grants which will help us get so much of the infrastructure in place – such as fencing, cutting down diseased trees, pathways, water connection and so on, as well as the purchase of a polytunnel. In order to fully get going with all that we would like to achieve in the first year we would like to raise about another £30 000 and to this end we will soon be opening a crowd source fund raising campaign for people to donate to and help us make the garden a working reality as we go into next year. Watch this space and please consider if you are able to donate to this once it opens. We will be able to claim gift aid which will make the donations go that much further.

We are close to receiving the lease from the council which means we can start spending some of the grants (we have thought it wise to avoid big expenditures until the lease was arranged just in case there are last minute hitches). There will then be work that we can proceed with without the need for planning permission – this includes fencing, laying paths, putting in a composting toilet and getting a water connection. We think these are the essential ingredients we need to be able to start holding regular sessions and so it will be fantastic to see this work commence. We hope to achieve a grant for the toilet and have already checked out the latest design for these, which have really come on well to give a very environmentally friendly, but also person-friendly solution to getting this essential facility in place.

Getting everything in place for planning permission has been a challenge as there is a lot to get ready for a good planning application, but we are close to being able to do this now. We will need planning permission for our ambitious plans to put in a building, for the polytunnel and for raised beds that would be at the right height for a wheelchair user.

We are also working on plans for how sessions will operate, DBS checks of volunteers, safeguarding policies as well as a raft of other policies and getting our website up and running. It is all happening and we are very grateful for the local support that we have and to know that we have so many people in the community excited to get involved once the garden starts to run sessions and do some proper gardening!


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