'It's not all about pear, plum and cherry trees': Bedford community group in line for national diversity award

editorial image

A community group that promotes greater understanding of cultures using public open spaces in Bedford has been nomination for a national award.

Queen’s Park Community Orchard (QPCO), in Bedford, has been shortlisted for the Race, Religion and Faiths category at the National Diversity Awards 2019.

It's the first time an organisation from Bedfordshire has been nominated. More than 28,000 nominations were received and only a 124 made the shortlist. The winners will be announced on September 20.

Eric Masih, chair of QPCO, said: “We were absolutely thrilled when we received the news that Queen’s Park Community Orchard had been nominated for a National Diversity Award.

“It is a testament to the hard work, passion and dedication of so many individuals within the community. We feel very privileged to represent Queen’s Park on a national stage!

Marie-Ange Comerford-Raillon, secretary added “The orchard is going from strength to strength, with projects such as the community Iftar and Multi-Cultural Parade and developing a new group called Connect and Motivate Bedford across the different area of Bedford. We want to give a voice to people at grassroots level and introducing our work to more and more members of this diverse community all the time.”

Queen’s Park Community Orchard encourages local people of all ages, faiths and genders to come together to care for their environment by appreciating and using their public open spaces, and to develop an understanding in each other cultures to develop tolerance and mutual respect which is even more needed in today’s society.

Founded in 2012, the orchard is located in close to the River Ouse, in an area locals call ‘The Slipe’. And it’s not all about pear, plum and cherry trees. Managed by resident volunteers, the project emphasises the positive benefits of shared engagement by helping the orchard to thrive, enhancing the wellbeing and cohesion of all who live and work within this diverse community.