THE future of a community fruit project is uncertain as it is losing both of its bases in the space of a few months.

Fruitful Durham, which started as a project turning waste apples into juice, expanded in 2017 when it took over the walled garden at Ushaw College, near Durham.

They had hoped to tame the wild and overgrown garden, which had been abandoned for a number of years, and grow fruit and vegetables, as well as put on workshops and community events.

They cleared much of the land last year and hoped to start growing this year but now have to leave the site by September as Ushaw College wants to develop the garden.

It has also been asked to leave its base in Bearpark, where it stores the equipment needed for apple pressing.

Directors Rachel Kurtz and Julian Godfrey are now looking to step back from the project, but hope to find a group of people to take it forward.

The Northern Echo:

Fruitful Durham directors Rachel Kurtz and Julian Godfrey

The community interest company is having an open meeting for anyone who would like to be involved.

Ms Kurtz said: "We have had some people get in touch who are interested in getting involved in some way.

"The juicing is the main activity we've been doing since we started and that has a lot of support locally. It would be a shame to lose that. Last year we pressed nine tonnes of apples – that's fruit that people didn't know what else to do with. It crazy that amount of fruit would go to waste."

Ushaw College says the garden is involved in plans for opening its grounds.

Commercial manager Jonathan Wood said: "We were delighted that Fruitful Durham showed interest in our walled garden and it's been great to have them on site for the last couple of years. However, it was always a temporary arrangement and, with Ushaw growing rapidly, the walled gardens now form part of our long-term plans for bringing even more people and community groups to Ushaw to enjoy the amazing historic house, chapel and the wider grounds.

"Those plans include hosting the revival of Durham County Show on June 16, as well as opening up the grounds in the future for horse riding, picnics, camping and other activities to maximise this beautiful space for public use.

"We wish Fruitful Durham every success in finding a new home and hope to be able to continue selling their amazing apple juice in our Refectory Café."

The open meeting takes place in the garden on Saturday, June 15, at 3pm.