IPPLEPEN community environmental group Ippleplanet has been awarded a grant from the Co-op Local Community Fund.

The grant, which will amount to at least £1,000, will be used to create a Community Orchard and nature re-connection space for the local community.

However, the more Ipplepen Co-op customers choose Ippleplanet for their chosen cause, the more money the Community Orchard Project will receive.

Ippleplanet began its life over a decade ago, with a few like-minded people getting together to chat about sustainability, biodiversity and the environment.

‘There was no particular sense of needing to create big projects, but just to sit down and have a conversation,’ said Gavin Milne, one of the original members of Ippleplanet.

‘We started to open up the group as the issues became more topical. When we did a launch event we were shocked by the attendance.’

As the group grew, so did its scope. Gavin said: ‘There’s two limbs to the group. One is more about biodiversity and the other looks at energy and our energy footprint. There interconnected but we have people specialising in both.’

The Co-op Local Community Fund gave Ippleplanet the opportunity to create something more for the community.

The fund supports projects across the UK that Co-op members can choose. When they shop, they can choose Ippleplanet as their chosen cause, stacking up funding for their orchard plan.

Speaking on the idea, Ippleplanet stated: ‘We are lucky to live in a village surrounded by beautiful countryside so wouldn’t it be great to have a newly created calm green space? A space where everyone can sit back and enjoy nature and, in future, pick your own fruit.’

Gavin added: ‘We decided to focus on one project, and we’d already thought a lot about creating an orchard space somewhere in the village.

‘This kind of project is exactly what the Co-op wants to support, as it’s all about environmental regeneration, nature reconnection and climate, but through the lens of the local community.

It’s a long-term project but we want it to be accessible to the village and available to all.’