Every day the solar PV panels on St John’s Church roof generate electricity that is used to help power the St Johns Centre. The solar panels also generate money through the Feed in Tariff. Some of this money is available to local community groups via ‘Sunshine grants’. See below for examples of how Sunshine grants have helped power two local community activities.
Busy Bees at Seymour Grove Allotments
Plotholders at Seymour Grove Allotments (between King’s Road and Ayres Road) in Old Trafford were delighted to welcome 12,000 new inhabitants to our site recently when our beehive was installed. Our new comrades can be seen foraging and pollinating all around the site. A team of plotholders who have trained as beekeepers – dubbed the B Team, of course! – inspect the hive regularly and they report that the bees have settled in nicely and seem very calm.
Anyone who grows food will tell you how essential bees are as over 70% of our crops are pollinated by bees and other insects. Getting a beehive on our allotment site should increase our food yields by 40%.
We are very grateful to St John’s Sunshine for the support they have given us in getting our bee project off the ground. For a small community group like ours, the start up costs seemed a little daunting when we first discussed getting bees. It has helped us enormously to have access to a local, community fund; the fact that it comes from a renewable source of energy makes it really special.
Please come to visit our lovely allotment community on one of our open days – upcoming dates are Produce Day on 11th September and Apple Day on 8th October. You can see the new bee hive for yourself and sample our amazing cakes and pizza from the cob oven. We might even have some Old Trafford honey on offer!
Solar powered strimmer keeps weeds at bay on Orchard 49.
The Orchard is on an urban allotment site in Old Trafford, on a previously hard to let plot (plot 49) which had become very overgrown. Old Trafford Amateur Gardeners’ Society decided to create a community orchard which would showcase local heritage varieties and provide an opportunity for local people to learn about growing fruit. The orchard was initially developed with a grant from the Big Lottery Fund Local Food fund (our grant ran from 2010-2012) and is a long term project which we hope will provide decades of enjoyment for local people.
To date there are 55 different varieties of top fruit on the orchard. The majority are Apple, but we also have Pear, Cherry, Fig, Gage, Damson, Plum and Quince. Plus some soft fruit (blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries and raspberries).
St Johns Sunshine provided us with a small grant to buy a ‘solar’ electric strimmer for the orchard. We call it a solar strimmer as the battery is charged up by Orchard volunteers who have solar PV panels on their roofs (just like St Johns Church).
The strimmer is really useful and helps keep the grass and the weeds on the Community Orchard under control.
There are regular volunteer evenings (usually on Thursday evening) during the summer and one-off events such as pruning and grafting workshops throughout the year.
If you would like to learn more about Orchard 49 please email email@example.com
Keep a look out for details of the Apple Day event on Saturday 8th October.