Veolia Orchard Campaign Supports the Next Generation of Environmentalists

Veolia donates 500 fruit trees to 100 schools across the country, with 35 trees to 7 local schools in Nottinghamshire.

This summer Veolia, in partnership with the community action charity Groundwork, launched a new campaign to help schools blossom with biodiversity and join a national network of orchards. Since the call went out across the country to sign up, Veolia has donated 500 trees to over 100 primary, secondary and special schools. 

The potential of trees in urban environments to combat the climate crisis is immense, not only in their contribution to increasing biodiversity and improving air quality, but their capacity to mitigate the effects of temperature rises. But more trees are needed, particularly in urban areas where temperatures are comparatively higher than rural areas and water scarce. The extreme heat waves experienced in the UK just this summer, highlighted the impact that global warming has on our local natural environments, with many trees losing their leaves much earlier than expected in a bid to conserve their water supply. 

By donating these mini orchards to schools, Veolia is placing the power of positive change in the hands of the future guardians of our planet. School children across the country now have the opportunity to plant their very own orchard and learn how to care for them until they bear fruit, providing them with healthy, locally sourced food and nurturing their wellbeing through a reconnection with nature.

Schools across Nottinghamshire were invited to apply for the fruit trees and in the next few weeks, as tree planting season starts, the trees will be delivered to the seven successful schools for them to plant. Successful schools highlighted in their applications how they intended to integrate their trees into a learning programme for their pupils.

L-R Councillor Neil Clarke, Headteacher Rob Gilbey and Julie Adams Contract Performance Manager Veolia. Front row pupils are Nathan, Thomas, Freya and Sophia from Robert Miles Junior School

Robert Miles Junior School in Bingham is one of the schools receiving the fruit trees and education pack. Headteacher Rob Gilbey says: 

“We’re delighted to be part of this programme. It is very important for our pupils to have access to nature and we know that it improves learning as well as well being. Children thrive outdoors and we are looking forward to growing fruit and learning all about trees and their eco systems. We are very fortunate to have a beautiful nature area on our school grounds which is a perfect location for our new fruit trees.”

To deliver this initiative Veolia are working in partnership with the community action charity Groundwork UK as well as Nottinghamshire County Council  and the campaign is being powered by Veolia's Sustainable Schools programme

Each orchard of up to five trees, is intended to become a learning resource for pupils, empowering them to improve their local environment and combat climate change. Each tree is 1.2 - 1.5 metres tall. The trees need to have around 5 metres distance between them to allow them to mature. For an orchard of 5 trees an area of approximately 25 square metres is needed.

Steven Newman, General Manager for Veolia Nottinghamshire, says: 

“The extraordinary response to the Veolia Orchard campaign highlights how important trees are, not just for the environment but for the positive impact they have on the education and wellbeing of school children in our local communities. We’re delighted to be partnering with Groundwork and all the teams look forward to helping this national network of orchards take root.”

Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Nottinghamshire County Council, says: 

“These trees will provide a great resource for schools. Children love being outdoors so we hope that these mini orchards give them an extra opportunity to learn outside and get their hands dirty. It’s also important that children learn and understand more about how the food they eat is grown.It’s great that schools can use the programme to nurture new skills for their pupils and take positive action for their communities.”

Joe McIndoe, UK Partnerships Manager, Groundwork says: 

“With the numbers of orchards in the UK in steep decline, we’re delighted to work alongside Veolia to provide free trees to schools and begin building this network of orchards across the country. The trees provide many benefits: fruit so that children can have the pleasure of picking and eating juicy, fresh food, shade in the summer and the tools for pupils to learn about nature guided by a handy booklet developed by Groundwork's landscaping experts. We can’t wait to see the kids planting their trees."

Schools taking part include:

  • Newark Orchard School
  • Foxwood Academy
  • Crescent Primary School
  • Healdswood Infant and Nursery
  • Carlton Junior Academy
  • Robert Miles Junior School

Find out more about the Orchard programme here