New composting toilets will help us maintain the apple orchard

This is the plea of ​​Trust Links, a charity for mental health and well-being, which has just launched crowdfunding in partnership with Aviva Community Fund, for composting toilets to be installed in St Laurence Orchard.

Matt King, CEO of Trust Links, explained, “We would like to install a composting toilet in the orchard so that people can use it when we organize work parties, educational trips and community events.

“Currently, we don’t have facilities at the orchard, so we have to keep our activities short, otherwise visitors sometimes go to the local supermarket.”

The St Laurence Community Orchard, in Eastwoodbury Lane, Southend, is a 1.5 acre wildlife refuge of orchards and small farms.

It is the last surviving fragment of a much larger orchard, which was first planted around 1920 after WWI. Essex County Council leased the site to veterans of the Great War as a place to learn new skills and recover from the trauma of the Great War. The soldiers came from the nearby Shoeburyness barracks.

There are over 53 types of apples at Verger St Laurence, including one D’Arcy Spice – a very rare local variety.

Trust Links took over St Laurence Orchard in 2005 for therapeutic gardening and salvage.

Every year in January, the Trust Links team invites the community to ‘wake up the orchard’ with wassailing and in October they celebrate Apple Harvest Day.

Trust Links maintains the orchard with monthly work groups throughout the growing season.

Beckie Grout, Communications and Partnerships Manager at Trust Links, said: “With improved facilities, Trust Links can make more use of the orchard. We can organize more working groups, involve different groups in orchard learning, and organize community events without having to hire expensive chemical toilets.

“We want a composting toilet because it’s a sustainable choice.

“Trust Links wants to install a waterless composting toilet, which means we will avoid wasting water and show people what is possible without needing to connect to the electricity grid.

“It also means not digging into or damaging the magnificent site.

“The Orchard is a truly important space for biodiversity, with centuries-old apple trees and a range of habitats for a wide variety of creatures.”

The Aviva Community Fund manages the crowdfunding and generously funds donations, pound for pound, on a first come, first serve basis by December 7, or until the entire £ 150,000 fund is allocated. .

For every donation made to the project, Aviva will double it up to £ 50.

To donate what you can and find out more visit: avivacommunityfund.co.uk/orchard-composting-toilet

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