Veolia Orchard is back to help schools blossom with biodiversity

On Monday 5th June and on the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, Veolia and Southwark Council are asking schools to help them deliver ecological transformation by applying for a Veolia Orchard. 

In 2022, Veolia Southwark and their charity partners Groundwork, delivered 25 free fruit trees to five schools across the borough. In 2023, Veolia and Southwark Council want to grow this network of orchards and support more schools on their environmental journeys. 

This initiative was launched in 2022 to encourage students to build a deeper connection with nature whilst developing skills to take care of their local environments. 100 schools across the country are already benefiting from these powerful tools to educate pupils on the importance of planting trees and the biodiversity they support. 

A Veolia Orchard is made up of five young fruit trees or, for those schools with more limited space, ten strawberry plants which can thrive in pots and bring nature and biodiversity to playgrounds, big or small.

Schools can apply online at between Monday 5 June and Monday 24 July. Successful applicants will be informed in September with deliveries taking place during October and November. The trees and plants will be accompanied by an information pack on how to plant and how to harvest the fruit, making this a unique learning opportunity for pupils.


Pascal Hauret, Managing Director, Municipal at Veolia said:

It only takes five fruit trees to make an orchard but it takes a nation to grow a network of trees that can help us fight climate change and improve air quality for our children. In 2022, we were excited to see this new initiative take root. This year, we are overwhelmed by how successful Veolia Orchard has been and eager for this network to grow and thrive. With 100 schools already taking care of their trees in 2023, we encourage all schools in BOROUGH to apply and help us deliver ecological transformation, one orchard at a time.

Joe McIndoe, UK Partnerships Manager, Groundwork:

With the numbers of orchards in the UK in steep decline, we’re delighted to work alongside Veolia to provide free trees to primary schools and begin building this network of orchards across the country. The trees provide many benefits: fruit so that children can have the pleasure of picking and eating juicy, fresh food, shade in the summer and the tools for pupils to learn about nature guided by a handy booklet developed by Groundwork's landscaping experts. We can’t wait to see the kids planting their trees.