Orchard Art is about recognising that orchards are safe and inspiring places for land-based therapy. Groups of people with learning disabilities are given the opportunity to spend quality time in the countryside and to work with different artists. Their achievements are celebrated in an exhibition of the completed works. The Bulmer Foundation created and manages the project which is delivered by working with a range of local caring organisations.
- In its first year in 2011, 100 people were involved in the project and spent a total of 300 hours in an orchard. Their work was exhibited at Hereford Cider Museum with 72 people attending the opening of the exhibition by Jesse Norman MP, who said:
"I think that orchards are a crucial part of what it is to be in Herefordshire and what it is to have a fulfilling and happy life: to get outside; to be in the open air; to be with your friends; and to be creating something and doing it in groves inhabited by spirits and full of beautiful trees and beautiful fruit and by nature."
One of the organisations involved was Martha Trust Hereford, a residential home for young people with profound intellectual and physical disabilities:
"The cider orchard proved to contain a wealth of sensory stimuli for our residents as well as becoming so much more by incorporating art to form a tangible experience that could only serve to enrich their lives."
- In 2012 the project took place in orchards during blossom time, come rain or shine, and 100 people with learning disabilities took part. Activities included creating a blossom sculpture, music-making and a Japanese tea ceremony. The second exhibition was opened by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, the Countess of Darnley.
A FILM was made during the 2012 Orchard Art project, which can be viewed here.
Orchard Art was showcased at the NACM (National Association of Cider Makers) Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons in 2012, and was seen by Her Majesty the Queen during her Diamond Day in Hereford. The Queen was introduced to one of the Orchard Art participants and admired the work.
The project has also been given a mention in the following article:
and in a recent edition of Herefordshire and Wye Valley Life.
- In May 2013, with the kind permission of the Dean and Chapter and support from HEINEKEN, the Bulmer Foundation held an Orchard Art Service in Hereford Cathedral. Please click here to view photos of this memorable celebration, and to download the order of service, songs and addresses made during the service.
Orchard Art has allowed people with learning disabilities time in the Herefordshire countryside, and their behaviour has been seen to change by increasing their activity and social interaction. The evaluation of the project has proved to be an opening to discuss innovative approaches to health care with commissioners of services.
The opening of the exhibition, at which people with learning discabilities shared their achievements with the wider community, was inspirational for all involved and the findings from the evaluation are being used in the national promotion of land based therapies.
The project is delivered by working in partnership with organisations that offer care to people with learning disabilites of acquired head injuries, considering their needs and different skills.
Observed behaviour of the participants changed in the orchard, particularly improving interpersonal contact. The care programme of at least one of the participants is being amended as a result of this project.