2107. Ryan Simpson
2108. James Whittingham
2109. Matthew Knight
Ryan Simpson, James Whittingham and Matthew Knight, from Berkshire, established a community orchard project ‘Freely Fruity’ in March 2020 which has since seen thousands of fruit and vegetables donated to charitable organisations in the county.
Based on a compact, two-acre, organic site, the project was set up to fulfil an ambition of making fresh, healthy produce freely available to those who needed it. The three friends planted hundreds of trees across four orchards during the pandemic, and in their first year, they were able to grow and provide over 1.5 tonnes of organic produce to local charities. Since the opening of restrictions, they have built close partnerships with both Wokingham Borough and Reading Councils to expand the initiative, starting 5 community orchards and bringing in hundreds of pupils from local schools to take part in tree planting and produce growing activities.
In a personal letter to Ryan, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Since planting your first fruit trees three years ago, you have created a beautiful public space which is not only home to an incredible variety of fruit and vegetables but also a place for people to enjoy and get involved.
“Your community spirit is bringing people together and making sure that more people know about the importance of sustainability and healthy eating.”
In a personal letter to James, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Alongside Ryan and Matthew, you have come up with an ingenious way of bringing your community together in a beautiful green space by planting fruit which is provided free to local residents.
“I understand that in this growing season alone you have donated over a tonne of produce to community projects and charities across Berkshire and beyond, helping them to support vulnerable people and encourage healthy lifestyles.”
In a personal letter to Matthew, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“You are championing locally grown produce and healthy eating, while also inspiring school children to learn more about sustainability.
“It was also great hear how schools are now planting their own fruit trees, and that you are donating trees to community projects across your local area.”
Ryan, James and Matthew said:
“For the past 3 years we’ve been planting community orchards and constructing community gardens in the Berkshire area. To be recognised by parliament and given this award is a huge honour for everyone involved with our charity.”
See more about ‘Freely Fruity’