Orchard Ground, Cublington, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire

Orchard Ground is a recreational area in the village of Cublington, Buckinghamshire that was left to the village by the Biggs family legacy in the late 1970s for use by the residents for their leisure and recreation.

The Orchard Ground Association was set up by the Parish Council to run and raise funds for the development and maintenance of the area for the benefit of the local community.  Since then, the site has seen the addition of a cricket pitch, two tennis courts, allotments and the Bigg’s Pavilion. It is used extensively by the local community in and around Cublington, including a range of sports and activity groups.

Of the 15 acres of land gifted to the village, only half has been set out for community use, the parish council let the remaining land on an agricultural lease that will end in September 2019.

The challenge

Funds of approximately £4,000 are required every year for the operation and maintenance of the Orchard Ground facilities. Whilst receiving some funds from groups using the facilities, from lettings and fundraising events the Association found its informal community status restricted the number of grants it could apply for.

Following discussions with the parish council and the offer that they could lease the land to the community group, the Association is keen to develop the remaining land for community. A consultation with local residents about what to do with this land included the following ideas: a community woodland, areas for children to play, a community orchard, an outdoor gym, a former pond to be re-established with a wetland area, and bird and bat boxes.

The solution

In 2018 committee representatives attended one of Community Impact Bucks (CIB) free one-to-one funding advice sessions where they were given advice on suitable funding opportunities and how to take the next steps to become a charity.

CIB also arranged a free legal and governance advice session with IBB Law, local Bucks solicitors who have a specialist department for charities. The qualified legal professional reviewed the Committee’s draft constitution and made recommendations and amendments to strengthen the future charity’s constitution.

Taking up CIB’s funding advice, Orchard Ground secured a grant of £28,800 to install a new kitchen and a grant of £900 from the AVDC New Homes Bonus funding scheme to go towards a new water boiler. The Association also attended a free National Lottery Community Fund 1:1 session and is following up other funding opportunities to help secure money to finance the development of the remaining ground based on community feedback including flood assessments for a proposed pond, arboreal assessments for a new woodland areas, and creating an amphitheatre in a natural dip in the land.

Orchard Ground Association has also used a range of online resources on the CIB website, including policy documents and trustee job descriptions, as it moves towards becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in late 2019.

Quote from organisation

“The support offered by Community Impact Bucks has been fantastic, their general advice and information has been very helpful and the specialist support has made the task of moving from a community group to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation so much easier. I encourage other community groups in Bucks to look at what CIB offer, I am sure they would benefit from their specialist advice and guidance.”  Martyn Waters, Committee Member, Orchard Ground Association, Cublington

If you would like more information about Orchard Ground, email gary@cublington.com

For more information on the Funding and Governance Advice Sessions and IBB Law’s pro bono Legal and Governance session, click here.

Updated on May 29, 2019

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society