School children will enjoy fruits of their labour

A scheme to donate fruit trees and strawberry plants, to help pupils learn more about the environment, is continuing to bloom with schools in Telford and Wrekin among those to benefit.

School children will enjoy fruits of their labour

The Veolia Orchard campaign is donating almost 600 fruit trees and 800 strawberry plants to more than 190 schools across the UK to improve biodiversity and help children learn more about food and the environment. Eight schools in the borough will receive either fruit trees or a planter of strawberry plants, so that those with limited space can still be part of the initiative. 

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 through the Veolia Orchard scheme.

Lantern Academy in Ketley is one of the schools supported and the Veolia team visited to deliver a tree planting session providing an opportunity for pupils to get hands on with planting the trees and getting them off to a good start.

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

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

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.”

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.”

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.”

The other schools to benefit in the borough are: Randlay Primary, Allscott Meads Primary, Grange Park Primary, Madeley Nursery, St George's C of E Primary, Donnington Wood Infant School and Twiggy’s Nursery. 

Photo: Ruth Jones, from Veolia, with children at Lantern Academy, in Ketley, which has received fruit trees.