Award winning Congleton Apple juice Congleton and its Congleton Apple Juice project is one of six Market towns in the north of England to receive an accolade from ‘Action for Market Towns’ for work to create thriving communities.

The six communities have beaten off stiff competition from small towns across the north of England to win recognition for their efforts to nurture thriving communities entering enter projects into one of four categories: Business & Economy, Environment & Culture, Partnership & Strategic Working and Social & Community.

Congleton Sustainability Group entered the Congleton Apple Juice project into the Environment & Culture category and were delighted to be judged joint winners with Renaissance Knaresborough.

Peter Aston, Chair of Congleton Sustainability Group, when asked to describe the project in 50 words said “In 2010 three tons of Congleton’s home-grown surplus apples were saved from the compost heap, juiced and bottled. Profits from the much-praised Congleton Apple Juice funded mini-orchards in the town’s schools”.

Peter paid tribute to everyone in the town who contributed apples to the project, Astbury Mere Visitor Centre’s help consolidating the apples and Eddisbury Fruit Farm making and bottling the juice.

Peter praised members of Congleton Sustainability Group and the many shops, cafes and restaurants and the Tourist Information Centre who have worked hard selling the juice. Profits from the juice together with funding from Cheshire Community Action and The William Dead Trust have enabled the schools to plant over 85 apple trees to create mini-orchards in all 16 Congleton Schools.

Peter particularly thanked Patti Pinto, of based in Congleton, for all her hard work creating the mini orchards in the schools.

Chris Wade, the chief executive of AMT said: “The quality and quantity of our entries shows that the big society is flourishing in many small towns across the north of England as communities show the spirit of self reliance”.

“AMT Awards help celebrate and share good ideas across the countries and include planned events where winners will showcase their talents.”

Action for Market Towns (AMT) is a national charity committed to the vitality and viability of our small towns.  They founded the awards scheme in 2004 to recognise and showcase initiatives that are helping our small market towns to adapt to change and flourish.

An overall regional winner will be chosen on 20 June at an event in Middlewich and the winning projects go forward to Action for Market Town’s national award – the winner will be announced in October at a ceremony in Ludlow. They will also be automatically entered for this year’s Regeneration and Renewal awards. The Action for Market Towns National Awards is supported by the Big Lottery Fund.