New orchard promises to bear fruit for New Bilton

WORK has started on creating a new community orchard at New Bilton's Jubilee Recreation Ground.
(left to right) Cllr John Slinger and Cllr Ish Mistry, ward councillors for New Bilton, Edward Palusinski, treasurer of New Bilton Community Association, Cllr Derek Poole, leader of Rugby Borough Council, and Sheela Hammond, chair of New Bilton Community Association, attended the planting of the community orchard at New Bilton's Jubilee Recreation Ground.
14 March 2024

The project follows a successful bid to the Coronation Living Heritage Fund, a £2.5 million Government fund launched to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.

The fund aims to boost tree planting across the country, with grants awarded for the creation of coronation 'micro woods' and community orchards.

A successful bid for funding by Warwickshire County Council sowed the seeds for the creation of a community orchard at the Jubilee Recreation Ground.

Working in partnership with Rugby Borough Council, New Bilton Community Association has already developed a community growing project at the recreation ground in Bridle Road - making it the perfect venue for a community orchard.

Fruit trees planted for the orchard include cherry, apple, apricot, pear, plum and quince, with residents encouraged to help themselves to the produce once the trees bear fruit.

Cllr Derek Poole, leader of Rugby Borough Council, attended today's (Thursday) planting and said: "The council has forged a successful partnership with the New Bilton Community Association over many years, helping the Jubilee Recreation Ground to become a much-valued community asset and a winner of a Green Flag Community Award.

"We're delighted to work with Warwickshire County Council to plant a community orchard at the recreation ground and we're all looking forward to the trees starting to bear fruit in a few years' time."  

Cllr John Slinger, a ward councillor for New Bilton, said: "I was really glad to attend the opening of the orchard with my fellow ward councillor, Cllr Ish Mistry, and see the great work of the Rugby Borough Council team, working closely in partnership with the county council and the New Bilton Community Association to deliver an enhanced environment at Jubilee Recreation Ground.

"The planting of trees improves the urban environment and people's lives. Hopefully the new orchard will flourish and be enjoyed by people in New Bilton and beyond for years."

Cllr Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for environment, climate and culture, said: "We're very pleased to have been able to work with Rugby Borough Council to plant the county's first community orchard in New Bilton, funded through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) Coronation Living Heritage Fund.

"Community orchards are excellent places for people to come together to plant a variety of fruit trees and to use the area for community activities.

"These orchards increase bee numbers and are a great opportunity for schools and the communities to learn about wildlife, planting and the maintenance of trees. 

"They also provide healthy and sustainable food for people, as well as supporting wildlife and improving the land in a natural way."