“Wow, what a fortnight we’ve had at Hanes Llandoch! On August 2nd Ben and Owen from The National Lottery Community Fund paid us a surprise visit to announce that our People’s Orchard proposal had been approved for a grant through the People and Places fund! With the collusion of one of Hanes Llandoch’s Trustee Board, Sue “Sneaky” Jones, they played a blinder pretending to be a small documentary team producing a short film about our famous Local Producers Market.
“In mid-flow, whilst waxing lyrical about the market I was stopped in my tracks and asked to read out the letter of approval. For once in my life I was rendered speechless, but not for long as we were overwhelmed with joy, particularly when a rather large presentation cheque was produced with the magical sum of £249,410!
“The news spread like wildfire as many of our partners and volunteers shared the news on social media. The phone was ringing and e-mails were pinging into inboxes as congratulatory messages from all over the world were received. We watched with disbelief as the video notched up over 30,000 views on Facebook, what better way to raise the profile of The People’s Orchard at the start of the project?
“The video has been brilliant for us as we have already had over 30 new people, including an artisan cider maker and an apiary expert, indicating they would like to get involved directly with the delivery of the project.
“We have definitely had more visitors to the market as a result of the exposure because it unwittingly was a good advert for the market. People are very excited about the project and to have this level of support right at the start has never happened for us in the past.
“The support of our local community in St. Dogmaels has been overwhelming and we are all looking forward to bringing this three year environmental project to fruition. The unofficial launch date will be on August Bank Holiday at our annual Medieval Fayre located in the grounds of St. Dogmaels’ Abbey, a fitting location for the launch of an orchard project as the Norman monks who established the Abbey first planted their orchards here over 900 years ago. Any interested parties can visit our stall to discover more about the project and find out how to get involved!
“We know it is going to be a lot of hard work – we have a thousand trees to plant, an extensive range of craft and vocational workshops to deliver, wild flower meadows to establish and numerous pollinator friendly activities to organise! From toddlers to pensioners, there is something that will enable everyone to engage with the project and play a part in creating what we hope will be a long lasting environmental legacy.
“Finally, The Board of Trustees of Hanes Llandoch would like to thank the team at The National Lottery Community Fund for their professionalism and support during the initial stages of our application and throughout the later stages. We look forward to working with you and your team over the next three years!
“A special thanks to Ben and Owen for giving us one of our most memorable days to date.”
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