Orchard Art: Five Fruit-trees make an Orchard

In 2014 the Bulmer Foundation worked with Echo's About Face Theatre Company and a group of student actors with learning disabilities to explain the value of orchards to a wider audience.  The play drew on the findings of the Bulmer Foundation's evaluation of six Herefordshire orchards and combined historical writing with the experience of the actors from being in orchards.

The play was performed to acclaim in the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens and at Lyde Court, Herefordshire in July 2014.

This is an evaluation of the impact of the play, including feedback from people who watched the performances.

A film version of the play was recorded in 2015.  This was filmed by mediashypp which provides training for young people in Herefordshire.

This work was funded by the Bulmer Foundation with support from E F Bulmer Benevolent Fund, Herefordshire Council, the Becket Bulmer Trust, the Richard Bulmer Trust and HEINEKEN UK.

Stimulate

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 evaluations of the project have proved to be an opening to discuss innovative approaches to health care with commissioners of services. Positive engagement with people with learning disabilities encourages others to think what we can learn from them - not over-complicating what we do and living in the moment.

Influence

The engagement of people with learning disabilities with the wider community to showcase their achievements is inspirational for all involved and the findings from the evaluations are being used in the national promotion of land based therapies.

Collaborate

Orchard Art is delivered by working in partnership with organisations that offer care and support to people with learning difficulties or acquired head injuries, considering their needs and different skills.

Change

Observed behaviour of the participants changes in an orchard, particularly improving interpersonal contact. Self-worth has improved for both participants and their families. The care programme of at least one of the participants was amended as a result of this project and involvement in the project contributed to another participant entering employment.