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Residents go a’wassailing as government commission urges house builders to plant more fruit trees

Our customers living at Wey Meadow, Farnham, have taken part in the age-old ceremony of wassailing to mark the planting of our first community orchard.

The ceremony took place as the government’s flagship Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission urged housing providers to build neighbourhoods with a greater sense of space and ensure the planting of fruit trees to help reconnect children with nature and with the sources of their food.

It’s a philosophy we've been championing over the last two years since our own landmark research conducted with the Universities of Birmingham and Manchester.

We created the community orchard in partnership with Surrey and Borders Community Orchard Project to transform a piece of overgrown land into a green space for the community to enjoy. Residents and staff planted more than half a dozen locally sourced pear, apple, quince and hazelnut trees which were selected by local children after a taste-test in November.

VIVID Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Cowie said: “The orchard provides an opportunity for our new community at Wey Meadow to build neighbourly relationships using an accessible shared community resource that sustains the area’s bio-diversity.”

Wassailing is a medieval English drinking ritual held usually at the start of a growing season intended to ensure good apple harvest.  As well as the planting, children made their own wassail lanterns to light and a crown to wear during the ceremony, which was accompanied by non-alcoholic wassail (mulled apple juice) and apple crumble.

VIVID Head of Neighbourhoods Derek Streek said: “Projects such as community orchards and children’s allotments are one part of our new Community Engagement Strategy. We’ve recently surveyed all our residents to encourage participation in their communities and support us in delivering not only more homes, but also bright futures for our customers. The initial results look very encouraging for future projects like Wey Meadow Orchard.”

Projects such as community orchards and children’s allotments are one part of our new Community Engagement Strategy