An innovative Wiltshire College & University Centre project has won a prestigious award for its work in promoting sustainability.
The Apple Project won the Enterprise category at the 15th annual Green Gown Awards, which took place on Tuesday 26th November at Glasgow Science centre.
It was the only College to be shortlisted in that category, sponsored by CUBO, with the other six all being universities.
Assistant Principal Denise Lloyd was at the awards ceremony, which welcomed a record number of finalists in 14 different categories, and was joined by staff from the Foundation Studies department, which set up and runs the project.
Denise said: “It is fantastic to be recognised alongside highly prestigious institutions for the work the Apple Project does.
“This will be a springboard for next steps needed to progress the project further.
“It will have a massive impact on the staff and students and will act as a motivator to raise the game in providing an accessible, sustainable, socially inclusive project.”
Announcing the College as a winner, judges said they liked the initiative as it was student based and unique, especially taking into consideration the challenges some of them involved. Judges also praised how the project was self-funded, has introduced new products and is now being demonstrated to other colleges and universities to replicate.
At the climate crisis is increasingly recognised as the most pressing issue the world faces, the Green Gown Awards put a spotlight on the innovative and inspiring sustainability work taking place in colleges and universities to create a brighter future for students.
Iain Patton, CEO of EAUC, who co-hosted the ceremony alongside Elizabeth Passey, Convenor of Course, University of Glasgow, said: “There are a lot of questions at the moment from the general public, concerned about the Climate Crisis, concerned about how we will reach zero net, and these awards identify and commend those that have some of the answers.”
The Apple Project was introduced to the College in 2017 with the aim of reducing food waste by producing natural and healthy food.
Initially at the Trowbridge campus, students used apples that would have otherwise gone to waste at Roundway Orchard in Devizes, run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, to make juice and chutneys.
These products were then sold at different college and community events and proved such a hit, not only with customers, but with students with learning difficulties thriving, that the Foundation Studies department were successfully awarded more than £17,000 in funding to buy pressers, pasteurisers and bottles by NUS EATS.
This money also enabled them to open a new factory and expand the project, opening it up to students at Lackham, which also has its own orchard. Most recently, the project has expanded again introducing other vegetables such as beetroot, something the judges praised.
Foundation Studies lecturer Bea Lilley said: “I was so surprised to receive this award as a smaller project against really inspiring projects from larger universities in our category.
“It is a real honour and I’m so proud of the learners who have been involved over the past three years and partners we have worked with including Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Students Eats.
“The whole event has inspired me to think about how I can embed sustainability into all areas of my teaching to help our learners have the skills to create a more sustainable culture.”