Fruitful pickings for local schools

School children planting trees and strawberries

Veolia Orchard continues to bloom supporting over 190 schools across the UK including eight in Telford and Wrekin. Some schools will receive fruit trees, others will receive a planter of strawberry plants, enabling those with limited space to be part of the initiative. 

Lantern Academy in Ketley is receiving an orchard.  The local Veolia team visited the school to deliver a tree planting session with the pupil eco-committee. The project improves biodiversity and provides an opportunity for pupils to get hands on with gardening and learn about food growing.

Telford & Wrekin Council is joining forces with the UK’s leading resource management company Veolia, Tesco and community action charity Groundwork to introduce greener areas in schools by donating free fruit trees and plants to eight schools across the borough.

The Veolia Orchard campaign is donating almost 600 fruit trees and 800 strawberry plants to UK schools to improve biodiversity and help children learn more about food and the environment.

The apple and pear trees and strawberry plants, provided by Grow at Brogdale who specialise in organic plant care, are currently being delivered to the winning schools. To house the strawberry plants, Tesco have donated planters made from recycled soft plastic collected in its stores; Veolia’s own ProGrow is being provided as peat-free compost to fill the planters.

This week Veolia visited the school to meet the pupil-eco committee and help them plant a mixture of apple and pear trees. Pupils learnt about the importance of trees and how to look after them, they also got involved in planting the trees and getting them off to a good start. 

Supporting the community 

As part of the recycling and waste service Veolia delivers in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council, the company gives £25,000 to support the local community each year. The Veolia Orchard is separate to this but complements the company’s community and education focus in the borough. 

Steve Mitchell, Regional Director for Veolia said: “We’re thrilled to be adding even more social value to our work in Telford and Wrekin by delivering trees and strawberries to eight local schools. The Veolia Orchard scheme recognises the importance of involving communities and children in delivering Veolia’s purpose of ecological transformation. Aside from the environmental benefits of planting trees and shrubs, the initiative gives great learning opportunities around connecting with our environment and food.”

Councillor Lee Carter (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Place (The Economy & Neighbourhood Services) said: “It’s great news that all schools in the borough that applied to the Veolia Orchard scheme were successful. Pupils will be able to gain hands-on experience of planting and growing their own fruit. Schemes like this cultivate an understanding of the environment among our younger generation and instil a sense of pride. I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour. »

Courtney Pallett, Tesco’s Packaging Campaigns Manager said: “Our in-store recycling points help make soft plastics even easier for our customers to recycle. We’re delighted to be working with Veolia to turn the plastic waste we collect into something new – keeping it out of the environment and helping create greener learning spaces for children in our local communities.”