Memorial orchard to be planted in Sydenham - The Leamington Observer

Memorial orchard to be planted in Sydenham

Leamington Editorial 16th Mar, 2023   0

A MEMORIAL orchard is being planted in Sydenham thanks to green shoots funding.

The £1million Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund is allocated by Warwickshire County Council and supports a wide range of small, community-powered initiatives across the county in addressing the climate change emergency.

And Sydenham Neighbourhood Initiatives at the SYDNI Centre has been awarded £1,601 from the fund to create a small community orchard of 21 fruit trees. In addition to providing fruit for the local community, this orchard will also serve as a poignant memorial to members of the community.

This includes Mota Singh, who was instrumental in the creation of the SYDNI Centre, Lilian Brocklehurst, a dedicant volunteer at the SYDNI Centre since its inception, who recently passed away, and Kate Cliffe, who was an inspirational manager of the centre for thirteen years, leaving last year. Kate will be remembered by the planting of Katy apple trees.

Throughout history, orchards have played an important role in local communities, providing a focal point where people and nature can successfully work together. They create abundant harvests, provide fresh fruit to the local community and an environment for local wildlife to thrive. Orchards also contribute to reducing food miles and carbon emissions from transport.

The SYDNI Centre Gardening Group and members of the local community will be involved in the creation of the orchard and will take responsibility for watering the young trees in the early days.

WCC’s climate spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “The Sydenham Memorial Orchard is one of the smallest projects, in terms of monetary value, funded by the Green Shoots Fund, but it’s potential for impact to the local community is huge.

“In the past many of our neighbourhoods have been built around community orchards. Once a tree is established, it can provide a large yield of fruit year after year for decades, requiring little human input. As deep-rooted, long-lived perennials, these trees have time to adapt to local conditions and be more resilient and benefiting the local environment.

“It will be fantastic to see this project reach maturity, providing delicious fruit for the local community whilst delivering positive environmental benefits.”

Coun Will Roberts, Trustee and lead for the community gardening group at the SYDNI Centre, added: “To be able to create a memorial orchard in the centre’s green space is an amazing project. Not only is it an opportunity to remember people who were at the heart of our community. It also means the SYDNI Centre is doing its little bit of the puzzle to challenge the Climate Emergency, whilst providing local residents the chance to enjoy free fresh fruit. I know the centre’s cafe is looking forward to taking advantage of the cooking apples that will be grown.”

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