Orchard project in funds appeal

The future of Swaffham's Community Orchard is in doubt unless new funding can be secured

The future of Swaffham's Community Orchard is in doubt unless new funding can be secured

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Organisers of a Swaffham community programme have warned they will have to make drastic cuts unless new funding is secured.

Officials from the allotment and orchard project, which is led by Family Action and supports people with a range of mental health, isolation and emotional problems, have launched a Crowdfunder appeal to raise vital additional cash.

Although the group has submitted applications for fresh grants, it currently only has enough money to continue in its current form until the spring.

And co-ordinator Katy Fullilove said that, although they could continue the project with volunteers, it would look very different without new investment.

She said: “We’re definitely at risk at the moment. We’ve probably got enough funding to get through to about May.

“We wouldn’t be able to offer the kind of support we offer to vulnerable people at the moment.”

The appeal, which runs until January 29, is aiming to raise at least £5,213, which will fund two horticulture programmes at the Tumbler Hill site.

Supporters can pledge as little as £2 and can choose from a range of rewards in return for their support, depending on the amount they donate.

The rewards range from a named stone in the orchard’s flower garden in return for a £10 donation to a bench with a personalised plaque, which is offered in return for a £1,000 donation.

They say £150 could buy all the orchard’s seeds for a year, while just £10 could provide enough compost to raise over 300 seedlings or feed the orchard’s chickens for a month.

More than £1,300 has been raised so far and Miss Fullilove is delighted with the backing the campaign has received so far.

She said: “It’s been great, really, really supportive.”

The campaign is also set to be boosted by the staging of a waffail event, which is based on West Country traditions, where guests enjoy food and drink and music before heading into the orchard to “wake up” the trees.

The event will take place on Sunday, January 17, between 3 and 6pm.

To find out more about the appeal, or to make a donation, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/swaffham-allotment-and-orchard-project.