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Lottery grant sows seeds for jobs growth and preserves heritage orchards

There is one more chance to sign up for a free training programme that has been creating new orchards and preserving historic ones across North Lanarkshire.

Lottery grant sows seeds for jobs growth and preserves heritage orchards

Article Source: The Orchard Project
Last Updated: 16 January 2024 14:11

The project Fruitful North Lanarkshire is delivering a third and final round of a horticultural training course for jobseekers and people on a low income.

The programme is delivered by the national charity The Orchard Project and supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. In its first two years dozens of local people learnt new skills and confidence while preserving Lanarkshire’s orchard heritage. They plan to build on that in the third year with course recruitment now underway.

Fruitful North Lanarkshire provides accredited training in skills such as orchard design, planting, pruning, and managing pests and diseases. The hands-on workshops take place at community orchards across North Lanarkshire, including Bothwell, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld, around twice a month from March to November.

Participants can achieve either a Level 1 (National 4) or a Level 3 (Higher) accreditation.

The Orchard Project’s Head of Operations Stephanie Irvine said: “We have had fantastic feedback from the people who attended the course in the last two years. They told us they learnt skills, gained confidence and made friends, and some have found work. We are really proud of the positive impact Fruitful North Lanarkshire is having for individuals, communities and the environment.”

Former student Jane made good use of the training she received: “I’ve been able to assist 3 different community orchards to help improve their trees’ health as well as provide better habitats for nature. This qualification gives me confidence when working and volunteering.”

Tracey from Newmains, a full-time carer for two disabled sons, said: “I really enjoyed the aspect of being asked to do something that you thought I could do, the belief you had in me inspired me to meet that belief. I am proud of what I’ve achieved.”

Another former student, Megan, said the course helped her find work: “The course gave me the confidence and experience to apply for a one day a week post in woodland conservation and community engagement, which I’m delighted to now be doing.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Scotland Caroline Clark said: “Fruitful North Lanarkshire gives people a chance to learn and share new skills while supporting biodiversity, and celebrating an important aspect of their local heritage.

Thanks to National Lottery players and The Orchard Project Lanarkshire’s new cohort of orchard experts will continue to nurture and deliver these benefits in years to come.”


As part of the course students do some volunteering at local orchards, and some even become “orchard mentors”, helping to preserve North Lanarkshire’s rich orchard heritage. Orchards are priority habitats supporting a wide range of biodiversity.

The deadline for application is Monday 4th March 2024. Here is the link to book: CICOScotland3.eventbrite.co.uk

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