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Big Lottery Fund helping to make local Herefordshire food ‘affordable’
HEREFORDSHIRE is set to benefit from more than £240,000 in funding from Local Food, a £57.5 million programme supported by the Big Lottery Fund, which channels cash to projects that make local food more accessible and affordable to communities.
Orchard Origins, a joint venture between Herefordshire Nature Trust and Hereford-shire Mind, will use the money to develop a social enterprise income stream to support its activities by using fruit from traditional orchards.
The project allows people who are or have been affected by mental health problems the opportunity to get involved with the preservation of diverse and productive orchards for future generations and gain all-important training and skills as a result.
Funding will also be used to promote the benefits of locally grown produce and build a greater awareness in the area of the orchard’s place in our communities through events and work with schools.
The Local Food grant will allow for the development of the social enterprise up to 2014 and the Trust is very interested to hear from owners of traditional orchards, however small, who would like to work with the project.
HNT chief executive Colin Cheesman said “Our partnership with Herefordshire Mind means that both organisations can use their expertise to deliver real benefits for people affected by mental distress, reinforcing our message that environmental conservation is as good for people as it is for other species.
“Promoting local, sustainable foods that make the most of traditional varieties and habitats will help us to prove that we can make a contribution to the environment, economy and society,” he said.
Herefordshire Mind chief executive Richard Kelly said: “Becoming involved in projects such as this can be deeply significant for people in recovery.
“It also helps break down some of the barriers within society providing an opportunity for people to understand some of the issues around mental health.”
Local Food programme manager Mark Wheddon said projects like Orchard origins have a “wide and lasting impact” on the community.
“Our scheme is about promoting the benefits of locally-grown food, and this project demonstrates how these can stretch beyond just healthy eating to educating people about the benefits of growing their own food and giving them to confidence to try something new.”