Queen’s Park Community Organisation operates a community organising model. Our overarching aim is to empower people to make a difference. This is an underpinning principle for all our projects.  We do not want to create dependency, but support people to find sustainable solutions to local problems. 

2010-2013: The founding of Queen’s Park Community Orchard (QPCO)

Queen’s Park Community Orchard (QPCO) is a legacy of Faith Woodlands Communities (FWC).  The former project aimed to help people from all backgrounds to enjoy and learn more about nature and the countryside. We worked across communities in Luton and Bedford, and made particular use of the diverse faith networks in these two cities. We aimed to show how all faiths share an appreciation of nature and care for the environment. Faith Woodlands Communities was a project run by Luton Council of Faiths, in partnership with Bedford Council of Faiths, the Forestry Commission, Greensand Trust, and Grassroots. It was funded through Natural England‘s Access to Nature.

2013-2020: From small seeds

On 2nd March 2013, the orchard was planted. The aim of the group was to encourage people to get outdoors and learn how to manage an orchard. The group planted a wide range of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees, most of which are old varieties from the former Laxton Brothers nurseries bought at the East of England and Apples & Orchard project.

Watch the wonderful video made by Norman Ash for our 1st year anniversary!

Winter Fair (2015-2019)

We started working towards community cohesion with diverse communities and organise events. All our events tries to be environmentally friendly. We organised a yearly Winter Fair with a different theme each year. In 2019, the theme was Romanian traditions, see short video!

Community Iftar (2017-2019)

We were the first group to start a community Iftar in Bedford, our first event was in 2017 bringing together Muslins, Jews and Christians to share their similarities. “Iftar” simply means ‘breaking the fast’, and this event was a celebration of Ramadan and an opportunity to share awareness about the Muslim faith.

Multicultural Parade

Our bi-annual event was a Multicultural Parade taking place around the orchard, to bring together local diverse communities and showcase local talent. Our last event in date was the Queen’s Jubilee Multicultural parade in June 2022.  Enjoy the video of our 2017 event!

September 2020 – The founding of Queen’s Park Community Organisation

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the volunteers working for Queen’s Park Community Orchard found themselves uniquely well placed to identify and support vulnerable people in one of the most deprived wards of Bedford and work with local communities and groups to respond to wider needs and calls for help, like the creation of PPE equipment for hospitals and care homes. It was at this time that we decided to change our name to Queen’s Park Community Organisation to reflect the growth in number of volunteers and scope of the organisation.  We also started to consider the benefits of applying for Charity status.

2021 – Organisational evolution

The Pandemic exposed how many people in Queen’s Park and more widely across Bedford were struggling to gain access to services they were entitled to. Thanks to Harpur Trust funding we were able to employ our first members of staff to work as part time Intervention Officers. Volunteers continued to develop projects alongside the work of the Intervention Officers and we worked with Trustees to develop our identity and objectives as a charitable organisation.

Three “QPCO Mousquetaires” aiming to make a difference in their community 

2022 – Growth and consolidation

Thanks to the funding provided by Tudor Trust we were able to create a full time Director post.

In June, with the help of CVS we obtained our Charitable Incorporated Organisation status (Charity registration number: 1199226). Our charity now has four objectives:

  1. Welfare, 
  2. Recreation, 
  3. Capacity building,
  4. Relief of poverty.