New community orchard partnership will transform urban areas and upskill 4,000 people

22nd October 2014


blossom-image100 community orchards to be created across the country Up to 90,000 people will benefit and 4,000 will gain new skills Transforming neglected areas at the heart of their communities

A new project, which will create and restore over a hundred orchards across the country, is being launched on National Apple Day (Today, 21st October 2014.)

Helping Britain Blossom will support local people to create and restore 100 community orchards by 2017.  By working directly with community groups, Helping Britain Blossom will help up to 4,000 people learn new skills; and deliver transformational benefits to their local communities.

Helping Britain Blossom will be delivered in partnership by HEINEKEN, The Urban Orchard Project and The Bulmer Foundation. In the first year, it will work at grassroots level in London, Birmingham, Hereford and Edinburgh before expanding in to other urban areas in year two.  The aim is to create sustainable, long-term orchards planted and managed by the community, for the community.

Helping Britain Blossom was launched on National Apple Day by Diversity star, Ashley Banjo, at a thriving urban orchard in East London, showcasing what can be achieved. Ashley is no stranger to transforming communities himself, and was on hand to lend his support to the project.

He said: “I am really excited about what these guys are planning to do together, and delighted to champion Helping Britain Blossom. Orchards create a natural hub for communities – a place where people can get together and learn new skills, as well as enjoying the fruits of their labours. It’s a great reason to get outside, get muddy and #GetFruity with your neighbours.”

The results of a poll, released to mark the launch of the project, show that across the country around 10 million people (1) do not have access to usable green space, despite a quarter wanting to ‘grow their own’. Additionally, 73% say that they “don’t know their neighbours very well”; fewer than half do not engage in any activity in their communities and a third of pensioners want activities to help combat loneliness(3).

David Forde, Managing Director for HEINEKEN commented: “This new project is about bringing people together, in an exciting and practical way, to create lasting change in the areas in which they live. As a cider maker, orchards are hugely important to our business. We also know that they can have real benefits for urban communities. We want to share our passion for orchards with communities across the country.  I look forward to seeing the groups, and their orchards, blossom over the next few years.”

Kath Rosen from The Urban Orchard Project: “Orchards are a great way to bring communities together. Everybody can play their part, however big or small. A community orchard isn’t just a collection of trees, it’s a community of people working together to make the local area a better place to live, work and enjoy.”

The Helping Britain Blossom website ( provides expert advice and inspirational project ideas. Everyone can support Helping Britain Blossom via:

Facebook -

Twitter -

Instagram -




For more information, images, case study requests, interviews with Ashley Banjo, HEINEKEN Managing Director David Forde or CEO of the Urban Orchard Project, Kath Rosen, please contact Mischief PR on (0)20 3128 6600 or email XXX


Notes to editors

1.Statistic taken from UK Net Guide

2.LSE study. Other information based on previous orcharding projects delivered by The Urban Orchard Project/ The London Orchard Project.

3.The independent research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 people from the UK (equally split between participants who live in urban and country areas) aged 18 and over from a nationally representative sample in October 2014.

About Heineken boiler plate

At HEINEKEN we believe that we have a responsibility to enable the communities in which we live, work and sell our products to be more sustainable.  Orchards are at the heart of our business.  Around 30% of all the apples grown in the UK go in to making our ciders and we source around 1.6 billion apples every year from around 10,000 acres of orchards – most of which are in Herefordshire.  Helping Britain Blossom will share the magic of orchards with communities across the country and create a positive lasting legacy for the future.

About The Urban Orchard Project boiler plate The Urban Orchard Project is a pioneering charity, dedicated to creating skilled communities that plant, care for and harvest fruit trees, whilst connecting communities and increasing access to fruit. During their five years operating in London they have worked with communities to create orchards which are now being managed by skilled community orchard leaders. They have been inspired over the years by other orchard groups throughout the UK and want to share the magic of orchards with them, learning together and supporting each other to establish a skilled and passionate UK orchard movement.

About The Bulmer Foundation boiler plate.

The Bulmer Foundation is a charity which enables and demonstrates sustainable development, especially within Herefordshire. The Foundation works collaboratively with communities, businesses and statutory agencies on projects that demonstrate and initiate sustainable development principles and practices. Through its education and advocacy programmes it communicates good practice and supports and empowers people to adopt and sustain change. It works with opinion formers and policy leaders to enable more sustainable practices.