HOW DID THE PROJECT COME ABOUT?
Wolverton Community Orchard was founded in 2003 with a vision to provide a place of peace and tranquility for the whole community to enjoy. A place for all age groups to practice skills and develop new ones, to enhance and raise awareness of the importance of caring for our environment and the wildlife that share that environment with us, to encourage an appreciation and love of wildlife and the natural world in the children who visit.
Yvonne Galuszka came up with the original idea for Wolverton Community Orchard back in 2003, determined to rescue it from being a disused allotment site which had also become a rubbish tip. She imagined it as a potential site for a community area for all to enjoy, then polled the neighbours for their input, applied for grants and pulled together a small group of friends who wanted to get involved in creating a community space that could be used by everyone.
The local residents expressed their support for the idea. After clearing the area, work proceeded in setting out the various sections of the site, planting hedges and fruit trees and creating a “sensory” garden full of colour and scents. Part of the site was retained as allotments and has successfully involved local schools who provide the children with after-school outdoor experiences.
HOW HAS THE ORCHARD DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS?
The orchard now boasts over 50 productive fruit trees including apple, pear, cherry, plum and damson. It’s enclosed by a mixed hedge of native species and incorporates a child-safe covered pond, a coppiced hazel “secret” pathway, a willow dome and an impressive rosemary hedge. Other hidden surprises are mentioned later in this document. Over the years, increasing numbers of nesting boxes have been installed – these and the pond are productively used by the local wildlife most years.
The Orchard does not use any harmful chemicals across the site, thus protecting wildlife and humans alike.
Wheelchair-friendly pathways and raised beds have been installed from early on, providing accessibility for less able visitors and volunteers. Open every day of the year during daylight hours, the orchard plays host to locals and Mums/Toddler groups who might be found relaxing in the orchard, playing or picnicking.
To read the full story of this amazing local volunteer-led project, please follow this link.
Here is what the group has said about its founder and volunteer, Yvonne Galuszka
Yvonne Galuszka, whose imagination and enthusiasm initiated the project 15 years ago, is still the orchard committee chair and an inspiration for us all with her continuing energy. As a volunteer group, we are proud of our achievements and continue to plan for the future. We believe that we make a positive contribution to Wolverton’s community and the comments we regularly receive from visitors encourage us onward and continue to make us feel appreciated.
To read the Volunteer Case Study of Yvonne Galuszka, please follow this link.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED & SUPPORT THE ORCHARD?
Apart from grass-mowing performed regularly by the local Council’s caretakers, it’s entirely maintained by a small group of volunteers who have weekly work sessions on Tuesdays where anyone is welcome to join in. On a site of almost half an acre, there’s never any shortage of tasks for people of any ability and experience and we’re always looking for new talents.
If you would like to volunteer with the orchard, contact them on:
1908 320 405 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the group on Facebook.
Location: alleyway off Woburn Ave, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5AY, United Kingdom. For map and directions, please follow this link.
Come along to the Orchard on Tuesday 4th June between 11am-12.30pm when we will be running a Volunteering Pop-Up, a volunteering information session for anyone interested in finding out about volunteering opportunities across Milton Keynes! All WELCOME.