The official opening of The CORE, the new learning centre at St Ives Community Orchard and Wildlife Reserve, took place last Friday (Apr 19).

The Community Orchard team received £345,538 from the Town Deal Fund to construct the environmentally sustainable facility on Penbeagle Hill. The building is the first of the nine St Ives Town Deal funded projects to be opened to the public, marking an exciting milestone in the Town Deal programme.

Among those attending the opening event was Libby Buckley, vice chair of St Ives Town Deal Board, who said: “The Community Orchard was the first St Ives project to be given a grant from the Town Deal in 2023 and it is fantastic to be able to attend the official opening event and see what has been achieved.”

Based in the beautiful 30-acre site overlooking the town, the building will provide a vibrant community asset, delivering environmental education, workshops, skills training, nature-based training and community events to individuals, local groups and schools.

Once the final works have been completed, activities at The CORE will include daily workshops and training all year round on subjects such as gardening, beekeeping, willow weaving, herbal remedies, natural dyes, brewing and grafting: all using materials grown and produced on site in an expanded community garden and orchard.

The project will also create new jobs and provide opportunities for local self-employed trainers to share their knowledge and skills as well as a space for meetings, community activities and a repair cafe.