“12 months after receiving investment, a long forgotten Donnington orchard has been regenerated as a community facility with help from a council-led initiative and a dedicated group of volunteers.

The Liz Clare community Orchard, named after the long standing Donnington ward member of 41 years, was planted by Yugoslavian refugees around the 1940s and recently received funding from Telford & Wrekin Council’s Safer & Stronger Communities project. 

Retired teacher and lead volunteer on the project Darran Dorsett has been responsible for clearing away the overgrown orchard to reveal around 60 trees producing around 20 different varieties of apples as well as various pear, damson and cherry trees.  

Councillor Paul Watling, Cabinet Member for Safer & Stronger Communities (Labour) said: “This orchard is such an oasis – it’s fantastic to see how the Safer & Stronger Communities project has helped to breathe life into it and the community around it. 

“It’s a lovely calm space and ideal for connecting with nature or if you want to gain some gardening skills. I give my heartfelt thanks to Darran who has taken this project on with so much dedication and has worked tirelessly over the last 18 months to bring some order to the overgrown orchard and reveal the wonderful apple trees that were planted here so long ago. 

It’s great to see how the project is bringing people together such as the residents from the care home, helping to reduce loneliness and also providing a chance for people to gain new skills, relax in the grounds that have been cared for by Darran and also a place to be creative, learning about gardening, plants and nature.” 

Read the full article on Telford and Wrekin Council’s website here.

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Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot