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Can you help South Woodford build a community orchard with free fruit and bee-friendly plants?

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 July 2019

Before and after - South Woodford community orchard. Pictures: Louise Burgess

Before and after - South Woodford community orchard. Pictures: Louise Burgess

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A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help residents build a community orchard with free fruit and bee-friendly plants outside South Woodford station.

The South Woodford Society, who are leading the project, hope to refurbish the green spaces on the south-east side of George Lane and reimagine and brighten the "neglected and run-down" area.

Working with Redbridge Council, Transport for London and the Orchard Project, the project aims to address allotment shortages, promote community production and ownership of fruit, and discourage anti-social behaviour.

So far, £595 has been raised of a £25,000 fundraising target.

Louise Burgess from the South Woodford Society said: "As evidenced by our street names of Primrose, Mulberry and Cowslip, the south-east side of George Lane used to be a flower-filled space, with market gardens and a dairy.

"We are aiming to put some of this country feel back into South Woodford by building a community orchard, refurbishing the current small green spaces and improving the planting.

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"We have the backing of the council's head of Civic Pride, Councillor John Howard, and our local councillors to carry out this work, and we will be engaging with local businesses and schools to include the views of their pupils, customers and staff in how the project is carried out and maintained.

"There are many benefits, not least the increase in the residents' community wellbeing, which will result in less crime and greater security in the local area.

"High-level planters should discourage anti-social behaviour and increased use of the area by residents will also prevent abuse.

"New community orchards help to address the nation's allotment shortfall and help us rediscover the pleasures of eating organic fruit grown close to home."

The Orchard Project, a charity dedicated to community orchards, will collect the fruit and give cider back in return - for every three kilograms of apples, they will receive a 330ml bottle of the limited edition Local Fox Cider.

The fruit can be collected from late August and previous locations have included Walthamstow, Herne Hill, Richmond and Perivale.

Louise said the society would also like to add some Christmas lights to an already established Christmas tree to create a "welcoming aspect to this corner of South Woodford during the darker winter months".

To donate to the project, visit www.spacehive.com/south-woodford-village.

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