The Orchard Project is the only national charity solely dedicated to the creation, restoration and celebration of community orchards. Our vision is to bring orchards into the heart of every urban community. We prioritise working with marginalised communities in areas of urban deprivation where people have poor access to quality greenspace.
The Orchard Project is committed to creating resilient biodiverse orchards
teaming with wildlife as much as we are committed to creating diverse
organisations. We need everyone’s voices, strengths and solutions to help
create an equitable, resilient sustainable society.
Our EDI programme includes:
• Delivering funded training programmes to help people get jobs in the environment sector. E.g. our CICO (Certificate in Community Orcharding) course offers bursaries to people of colour, people from minority ethnic backgrounds or who are ethnically diverse. We have had a huge success rate with these courses, with a third of participants progressing into work or further training.
• Feasibility work with new partners who are led by people of colour, minority ethnic backgrounds or ethnically diverse people to develop orchard programmes that better reflect need in these communities.
• Introducing blind recruitment to overcome our unconscious biases. We track diversity data through each recruitment round to identify where we can improve our processes.
• Improving the language and where we advertise for staff and trustees to make our recruitment process more accessible. Our recruitment criteria is based on experience rather than academic qualifications and we recruit using sites specialising in helping organisations become more diverse.
• We have proactively sought to increase the diversity of our board, both in race and other demographic metrics such as people on low incomes. In Dec 2022, we finished a round of recruitment and have 6 new trustees who will be joining the board over 2023. The new trustees offer fresh perspectives in terms of lived experience of race, age, neurodiversity and socio-economic backgrounds. We hope that our more diverse board will continue to amplify EDI work within the charity.
• Removing economic structural barriers for people accessing our work, especially around volunteering and affordability which we have sought to address in part through the creation of paid for intern roles where we can secure funding for these.
In addition to commitments stated above, for 2023 we are aiming to:
Deliver new funded training programmes to help people get jobs in the environment sector. For 2023, we are developing a culturally appropriate planting section to our training courses
Secure funding for programmes with new partners who are led by people of colour, minority ethnic backgrounds or ethnically diverse people to develop orchard programmes that better reflect need in these communities.
Continue to improve our processes for attracting more diverse candidates to our workforce
Amplifying EDI work within the charity through our more diverse board
Having a budget line specifically for EDI work to ensure resources are directed to this area