Jun 15 2012 By Donald Morton
STIRLING-based Forth Environment Link has been given £326,000 to develop its Forth Valley Orchards Initiative over the next three years.
The funding is part of a £2.2m package from the Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund.
The award will enable Forth Environment Link to focus on developing the economic potential of orchards and expanding orchards in schools.
Executive director Jane Cullingworth said: "We have witnessed such strong engagement and interest in orchards across many communities.
"We are keen to continue this work, looking at where there are opportunities for people to develop their own orchard-related businesses, as well as extending orchards in school communities."
The group’s programme includes another three years of the CSGN orchard grant scheme, a series of orchard workshops and a Forth Valley Orchards Weekend in the autumn.
FEL project officer Diane Alderdice said: "So many new orchards have been planted in community open spaces, schools and on private ground and people have been trained up in orchard care and management.
"Through our recent study on the economic potential of orchards, we believe that there is also a demand for fruit processing and developing orchard-related businesses. We will be developing a support package to help people develop these over the next three years.
"We will work with the volunteer Forth Valley Orchards Group and a wide range of partners over the next three years to develop the programme of orchard activities.
"If anyone would like to join us then we would encourage them to check our website, at www.forthenvironmentlink.org, to phone us on 01786 449215 or email email@example.com.
"We are also developing a dedicated Forth Valley Orchards website, which will be announced soon, and which will be the ‘go-to’ site for orchards in the area."