A 'food forest' growing free fruit for people in Sutton and Wimbledon could be on the way after its founders received a £10,000 grant.

The Social Orchards project aims to plant a ‘food forest’ community orchard in Sandmartin Way, Hackbridge, and become accessible to residents along a walking route near the Wandle Trail, 'creating an oasis of calm and community cohesion'.

Raspberry canes, allotment vegetables and nut trees are among those which will become available after funding was won from the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ scheme.

Robert Walker, director of Legworks Consulting and Social Landscapes, said: “It is about having free, accessible, nutritious food in the area, something that could bring people together, be attractive to have, and a nice space to be in.

“We have three areas that are being planted but we are looking for other places to plant as well, and we are looking for more funding.

“I think this is something we would like to encourage others to emulate. I would like to find other pots for planting areas up and down the Wandle Valley trail in particular, but that isn’t just confined to within the Wandle Valley trail.

“Just in south London, it’s about making it appealing. Because it’s a walking route along the Wandle Valley trail it’s quite nice that people can pick fruit as they go along, they can harvest, and it can bring people together to share recipes.

“I hope it brings people together."

Planting will commence at up to four different locations later this year, including a primary school and a church, with additional funding from other community pots to provide planting elsewhere in the River Wandle area.

In his application for funding, Mr Walker wrote: "Overgrown and uncared-for, this site would be transformed by caring for the existing trees and interplanting with fruit-and-food-growing bushes and trees accessible to the whole community. It is possible that we would look to graft trees and produce bushes and trees for other local sites!"

Because it stretches across three boroughs there have been some discussions to increase it towards Wandsworth as well.