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Veolia Orchard is back to help SLWP schools blossom with biodiversity

20 June 2023

Schools across the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) region of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton can apply now for their very own ‘Veolia Orchard’. 

Last year, Veolia SLWP and their charity partners Groundwork, delivered 65 free fruit trees to 13 schools across the four London boroughs. In 2023, we want to grow this network of orchards and support even more local schools on their environmental journeys.

The Veolia Orchard initiative was launched in 2022 to foster a deeper connection with nature whilst empowering students with the skills they need to take care of their local environments. 100 schools across the country are already benefiting with thousands of pupils learning the importance of planting and caring for trees, and the biodiversity they support.

Each Veolia Orchard is made up of five young fruit trees or, for those schools with limited space, ten strawberry plants which can thrive in pots and bring nature and biodiversity to playgrounds, big or small.

Schools can apply online at with applications open until Monday 24 July 2023. Successful applicants will be informed in September with deliveries taking place during October and November. The trees and plants will be accompanied by an information pack on how to plant and how to harvest the fruit, making this a fantastic learning opportunity for pupils.

Pascal Hauret, Managing Director, Municipal at Veolia said:

“It only takes five fruit trees to make an orchard but it takes a nation to grow a network of trees that can help us fight climate change and improve air quality for our children. In 2022, we were excited to see this new initiative take root. This year, we are overwhelmed by how successful Veolia Orchard has been and eager for this network to grow and thrive. With 100 schools already taking care of their trees in 2023, we encourage all schools in the South London Waste Partnership boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton to apply and help us deliver ecological transformation, one orchard at a time.”

Joe McIndoe, UK Partnerships Manager, Groundwork, added:

“Groundwork is delighted to be working alongside Veolia to deliver the Veolia Orchard planting project for the second year running, with this year set to double the number of schools benefitting. It’s such a simple yet impactful project to provide fruit trees and strawberry plants to schools across the country. More children can have the pleasure of picking and eating juicy fresh food whilst sitting in the dappled shade in the summer and providing a home, and food, for local biodiversity. A handy booklet will be provided to all schools so that they can plant and care for their new trees. We can’t wait to see more smiling faces as they plant their trees in autumn.”

 Andrea Keys, Partnership Director, South London Waste Partnership, concludes:

“Working with local schools to raise awareness of sustainability issues amongst young people is so important. Veolia’s ‘Recycling Rockstars’ education package has played an important role over the last few years in encouraging pupils and their families to waste less and recycle more. The Veolia Orchard project takes that one step further by highlighting the importance of biodiversity, sustainable food production and caring for our natural surroundings; all things that are vital if we are to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. The application process is quick and simple and successful schools will be able to transform a corner of their grounds into a productive fruit orchard full of rich and wonderful learning opportunities.”

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