An innovative project at Wiltshire College & University Centre has been shortlisted for an award for its work in promoting sustainability.
The Apple Project has reached the finals of the Green Gown Awards, which recognises exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK and Ireland.
It is the only College to have been shortlisted in the Enterprise category with the other six being universities.
Tony Green head of Foundation Studies, which runs the Apple Project, said: “I’m so proud of the extraordinary efforts my staff and students have put into this exceptional project.
“From modest beginnings, we now have a sustainable, fully operational micro-business that offers a range of healthy and delicious products.
“In creating this, my team has not only addressed the crucial topic of food waste, but also strengthened links with our local communities and provided valuable, authentic work experience for our learners.”
The Apple Project began in September 2017 with the aim of reducing food waste by producing natural and healthy food.
Initially it started at the Trowbridge campus and 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.
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.
The Green Gown Awards ceremony takes place in Glasgow, which has committed to being the first UK net-zero city, in November.