Wiltshire College is celebrating a cash windfall of £17,000 to grow its pioneering Apple Project.
The Foundation Studies department is thrilled to be the only college in the UK to have been given the funding by NUS Student Eats, a sustainable food programme supporting students to grow food and develop food-based social enterprises.
Cath Giles, Deputy Head for Foundation Studies, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received this funding and are looking forward to the upcoming year making a difference to the community and our students.”
The Apple Project launched in September 2017 at the Trowbridge campus with the aim of eliminating food waste by producing natural and healthy food.
Students were able to use apples that would have otherwise gone to waste at Roundway Orchard in Devizes, run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, to make juice and chutneys, which were then sold at different college events including the annual Lambing weekends at Lackham.
Originally the College applied for £11,000 so that they could buy pressers, pasteurisers and bottles, but NUS EATS was so impressed with the project that they decided to increase funding to £17,000, and become one of only nine student-led social enterprises to be successful.
As a result of this, the team are also pleased to announce they will be setting up a complete production line by taking over a vacant building in the College grounds, due to officially open in September.
Students will have the opportunity to undertake additional courses in food hygiene and staff will benefit from training to lead and grow the project further.
Foundation Studies lecturer Liz Green said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for our students, some of whom haven’t always got on so well in education or life so far, but have enjoyed being part of something so special.
“They have learned some incredible employability and entrepreneurial skills as well as grow in confidence and it’s been lovely to see.
“They are thrilled that we will not only be able to continue the project, but grow it.
“It’s an exciting time for the College and we look forward to working with students across all the campuses to get involved.”