Orchard the pick of the community thanks to donation
19 December 2016
A community group that turned an abandoned area of land in Swindon into an orchard has netted a cash windfall from Persimmon Homes Wessex.
Persimmon has awarded Penhill Orchard Group £500 to keep the natural area on Westbury Road, Swindon, open to the public.
The 2.5 acre grounds is leased from Swindon Borough Council with the group requiring insurance to secure its future use for the public. The cause was awarded the through the Persimmon Homes’ Community Champions scheme. The initiative is open to charities, groups and individuals looking to match funds up to the value of £1,000 that they have already raised themselves.
Marilyn Beale, a spokeswoman for Penhill Orchard Group, said: "We adopted a 2.5 acre derelict allotment in 2003 in an area of deprivation and turned it into a community orchard. It is open all year round with free fresh fruit for all residents in need, when it is in season. Families use it for picnicking, playing and dog walking while over the years funds have been raised to purchase the trees, tools, storage units and to host events. As part of our agreement with Swindon Borough Council we require insurance and so the donation from Persimmon Homes will ensure we meet the costs and as a result keep our fantastic orchard open to the community.”
Pauline Fletcher, sales and marketing director for Persimmon Homes Wessex, added: “Penhill Orchard Group have done excellent work in revitalising a deprived area of Swindon and making it community friendly for families. It is an excellent project that has been going on for more than 10 years and we’re delighted our contribution can help ensure it will stay for many years to come. As always it was tough to select a Community Champion so if any charity, group or organisation missed out this time we urge them to apply again even if they have won previously.”