Newquay Community Orchard is all about creating a public space in the heart of the Cornish town that empowers the local community. So harnessing the power of the people through Crowdfunder was the perfect way to get this ambitious project off the ground.
The project is led by Urban Biodiversity CIC, a newly formed community interest group that aims to combat social deprivation by developing urban sites that offer opportunities for all. Newquay Community Orchard will provide workshops, food security, apprenticeships and community events for people from the town and further afield.
Luke Berkeley, Managing Director of Newquay Community Orchard, explains, “Newquay is under quite intense development at the moment, using quite a lot of greenbelt land. This is a seven acre plot of land right in the centre of Newquay that is never going to be developed.”
As well as offering food and environmental education and a community growing space, the orchard will provide mental health day care and community events.
“There’s something for everyone,” says Luke. “It will allow people who are 80-years-old to mix with people who are five-years-old. It’s about breaking down barriers, particularly with mental health issues.”
With so many community and environmental benefits to the project, Luke says various avenues of funding would have been available to them. However, they decided to crowdfund because it allowed them to involve the public, who will be at the heart of the orchard, right from its beginning. “The thing with crowdfunding is it’s as much about a marketing campaign as about the money, so it allowed us to raise awareness as well as money. It allows you to go out and reach out to the community.”
Their campaign involved a launch night followed by a smaller awareness-raising event, and a lot of pushing their message on social media sites and their own website. Luke admits that it was hard work, but it paid off – Newquay Community Orchard raised an incredible £66,000, more than twice their original target. Along with pledges from individuals, numerous businesses and individuals showed their support, including Nomads Clothing, Newquay Self Storage, The Duchy of Cornwall and The Ashden Trust.
The Crowdfunder campaign also enabled the orchard to access further funding from other sources, such as the local councillor’s community chest, and Cornwall Community Foundation. “I don’t think that would have been secured if we hadn’t had Crowdfunder,” he says.
He advises other crowdfunding projects to make full use of the Crowdfunder team “Their marketing plans particularly are really, really helpful. But the best advice you can give anyone is preparation. Get a structured plan of how you’re going to reach the community.”
With this initial funding secured work can now begin on developing the orchard.
“We’ve got enough to go on site and buy certain materials and make a start on everything. It gives us a lot of breathing space,” says Luke.
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