The National Lottery Community Fund

What wonderful community support from so many people in and around Dervaig and further afield. Our Community Orchard, despite all the difficulties, is continuing to thrive and develop due the support of the local community and a grant of £5096 from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Feedback from Peter Watson from the National Lottery Grant: “Congratulations on all you have achieved through this project and I hope it continues to be a valued resource for the local area. It’s clear the space has been well used by the kids and wider community which is great to see!”

The grant enabled the orchard to develop two different areas in the orchard in 2021. The timing of the grant proved invaluable as COVID continued to have such a big impact on life. All of what we did was in line with the current COVID restrictions.

New raised beds

  • Firstly volunteers cleared the area for the raised beds. 
  • A local volunteer took on the task of designing, sourcing materials for the new raised beds. This enabled us to make bigger raised beds, which results in more planting area and reduced costs.
  • They were completed by late Spring and were soon planted up with potatoes, onions and courgettes by children at the school as well as a local pre school group Wee Forest Folk and their parents.
  • Gardening equipment was vital including children sized gardening gloves (great for planting, weeding and harvesting), trowels and watering cans. 
  • Watering over the summer months at times was challenging (when we did have dry spells) this made us realise that we needed to put in an irrigation system for growing season 2022.
  • A local retired plumber took on this challenge and has designed the system. Now the undergrowth has died back, we will install the system and using the opportunity to teach the children about the science and technology of watering systems. 
  • Courgettes were picked and eaten throughout the growing season by orchard visitors. 
  • The first potato harvest was very successful and the children made up bags of potatoes for all the families, along with an onion or two. Great fun, learning and tasty too. 

Wooden outdoor water cascade (shared with Dervaig Primary)

  • The children have gained so much for the purchase of the water cascade and other Community Playthings blocks. They are so inventive and as well as the fun, they have loved being outside, experimenting and working with others. Health and well-being can be hard to measure but to watch the children it is clear how good it is for them. 
  • The children learn to share, give and take and the learning they take from each other. 
  • We have invested more in Community Playthings on request from the children, using money fund raised by the local families.

Wild Things Training

  • A member of the local community undertook a week long SQA accredited outdoor learning course. The course was run by Wild Things and on completion of it the trainer has worked with all ages on activities. 
  • Other adults working with the trainer have also benefited from this learning as they have learnt through the activities, this has resulted in an increased level of understanding, confidence and ideas to use in the outdoors. 
  • We soon realised that we needed additional equipment and prioritised this above waterproofs which parents were able to provide.
  • Additional equipment included tarpaulins (for dens and shelters) ropes, knives, identification guides, flint and steels for fire lighting (we also created a permanent fire pit.)
  • The equipment was then put to immediate use with the teaching and learning of bush craft skills and den making.
  • A nature club run by a ranger focused on trees, mini beasts, flowers and culminated in a scavenger hunt and made use of the ID guides, along with the ipads for further research. 
  • The local pre school group of parents and children had fun sessions using the orchard and benefitting from the Wild Things training. 
  • These really helped build links with others from further afield and led to a couple of community events.  

What has been so great to witness is the knock on effect for the orchard, the Dervaig Community and wider community:

  • Families at work parties to get parts of the orchard ready eg. raised beds, fire pit etc – children and adults of all ages working outside together for a common good.
  • Families planting, looking after and picking fruit and vegetables including potatoes, onions, courgettes, strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, red currants and of course apples.
  • Celebrating Apple Day and a Christmas Celebration at the Orchard with the wider community including learning traditional crafts. 
  • The orchard and the community work being represented at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November. 

A big thank you for the support The National Lottery Community Fund has given towards our community orchard, it has helped to make such a difference.

Our next plans are to build on what is already being done, increase the number and range of fruit trees, plant an edible hedgerow and provide information boards. We will also continue to run community events, to teach new skills and host children’s clubs and grow an increasing number of fruit and vegetables. 

Caroline Wood (Dervaig Community Orchard)
Tricia Evans (Head Teacher Dervaig Primary School) 

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