Cherry Tree Nursery

A charity based on horticulture providing meaningful occupation in a supportive
environment, aiming to restore well-being to people with mental illness.
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Water projects
dancer At the end of 2004, at a Cherry Tree Management Meeting, a group of volunteers decided that they would like to help a community in the ‘developing world’.  After much thought and discussion, the group decided that they would like to raise money to provide a supply of safe, clean piped water to a poor community. Water is an issue of huge significance to us as a plant nursery, and the connection seemed appropriate.
The group looked carefully at a wide selection of projects and chose one in Bolivia, the country with the highest level of rural poverty, and situated in Latin America, an area not widely known in the UK. It was very important to us to find a small-scale project so we could know exactly where all the money was going.

Since then, the group have raised over £30,000 and have enabled four communities in Bolivia, and one in Ecuador, to be supplied with piped supplies of safe, clean water. Work is now starting on raising the money to provide a supply for a sixth community. 


The volunteers have raised money in a variety of ways.  They run stalls at our plant sales, selling books, DVDs, and homemade cakes, along with raffles, tombolas and sales of original handcrafted Bolivian goods. Volunteers organised a sponsored walk carrying water as they do in Bolivia, and walked a similar distance to that walked by Bolivian women just for the few litres they survive on each day. A volunteer cuts hair for the other volunteers and the proceeds all go to the project.  Another volunteer did some gardening work for the appeal, while others save 20p pieces.

‘Just because we suffer from depression doesn’t mean we can’t reach out to other people. We can still help and support others. We are raising money for water in Bolivia’

‘I can honestly say that being part of the Bolivia Group is by far the most important thing that has happened to me in my whole life. I now know that I can make a difference in the world’

The group know that through their efforts lives are being saved every day because families are no longer forced to drink contaminated water. Children can now go to school and women can engage in other activities because they have no more need to walk many miles to collect their water. They are no longer crippled by the weight of all the water carried up hills and over rough terrain, and people are starting to understand the importance of hygiene, of washing. We as a group have learned of the connections between water and the lives of women.

We now have friends in solidarity across the world, we write to our communities, and our friend Linda Bowditch has visited some of them. We have Bolivian friends who came to work with us, and the Bolivian band ‘Expresion Bolivia’, who are based in London, come and play for us at our plant sales. We have talks from people who have lived and worked in Latin America, such as Colonel Blashford-Snell who told us of his expeditions there..

This has been an amazing experience for all of us and has opened our eyes to the daily importance of water and its literally vital necessity.  Water is a basic human right and we were astonished to learn that the people in the world who lack clean running water outnumber those of us who have it and take it for granted. The group’s mission statement is: ‘Our fundamental belief is to provide water to whoever needs it most’.

‘In one drop of water are found all the secrets of the oceans’ Kahlil Gibran

‘Man has been known to live without love, never without water’ WH Auden

The area of Bolivia with which we have been working is the remote Sorata Valley in the La Paz region. The people are indigenous Aymara. The four communities are very poor, only have access by rough tracks, and are cut off for most of the year, when rain washes away the roads. The houses have mud walls, with corrugated metal roofs and earthen floors. The people use wood for cooking, cultivate a few crops, and keep a few animals. They have no toilets, and previously obtained all their water from the river, or a spring some distance away. This water was muddy and contaminated, and as a result half the children would die before reaching the age of twelve.
The four communities are Villa Concepcion, Chichaque, Chuchulaya and Chiquiruni..

The community we are working with in Ecuador is Mirador de Las Palmas, in the north of the country, a community also cut off for most of the year as the rains wash away the road. There is more information about all five communities in the downloads below.

The provision of water has many implications for a community. Firstly, asking for, and working on, the provision of a water supply is a joint undertaking, strengthening the community and encouraging everyone to work together. Secondly, it above all benefits the women, who are normally, along with the children, the water carriers. The extra time they gain can be used for more economically productive activities. The implications on their health and hygiene are enormous, empowering them and boosting their self-esteem. The children, especially the girls, now no longer have to help their mothers carry water for hours and can go to school, often for the first time. And they no longer die so often of diaorrhea and other water-borne curable diseases.

‘Mirador de Las Palmas, 22 September 2009

To Cherry Tree Nursery
We who make up the community of Mirador de Las Palmas wish to convey to you a friendly and heartfelt greeting, hoping that you are well.’
‘With this letter, all of us from the community: men, women and children, want to say to you that we are very happy and grateful for the enormous help you have given us with the water. Our dreams of having this vital service have become reality thanks to you.
In all sincerity, we don’t have the words with which to thank you for this great help to our community. Thank you for everything!
In this way we say farewell, and, once again, the community is, and always will be, profoundly grateful for this noble gesture of solidarity.
The Community of Mirador de Las Palmas, Penaherrera, Cotacachi, Imbabura, Ecuador’


Why water?
One sixth of the world’s population do not have access to safe  water (1.1 billion people).
Over 3 billion people lack sanitation.
Every 15 seconds a child dies from water-related diseases, 6,000 a day.
In many parts of the world more than two-thirds of children die before reaching the age of 5, due to the lack of clean water.
The average amount of water carried by the Bolivian women is 20kg – the UK airport luggage allowance. The average distance they carry it is 5 km, many times a day.
Clean water and good hygiene can reduce deaths from diarrhoea by 65%.
The average person in the UK uses 135 litres of water per day, while the average person in the developing world uses 10 litres per day (one flush of a UK toilet).
In as little as ten years’ time, it is likely that 70% of the world’s population will not have enough water.
80% of infectious diseases are water-borne
Water, or the lack of it, is the most important issue in the world today.
Water will be in the twenty first century what oil was in the twentieth, in future wars will be fought over water, not oil.
Global fresh water shortages and drought conditions are spreading in both the developed and developing world.
In the entire world, only 2.5% of the water is drinkable
12% of the world’s population uses 85% of the total drinking water available.



Water belongs to the earth and all species and is sacred to life, therefore, the world’s water must be conserved, reclaimed and protected for all future generations and its natural patterns respected’  Cochabamba (Bolivia) Declaration





Appropriate technology
Bolivia group information leaflet
Can you help
Chichaque sep06
Chuchulaya Safe Drinking Water Project Summary
Dear Friends - the letter sent to our communities in Bolivia
ITACA Principles
Mirador final report
Mirador Las Palmas Water System Project Brief version
Mirador Las Palmas Water System Project long version
qbl annual report
Solidarity or the Third Shoulder
The Communities in Bolivia
Villa Concepcion
Volunteers water group
Why us
Condo Chejwaya Safe Drinking Water Project Summary
Puki Willki Safe Drinking Water Project Summary


Cherry Tree Nursery
Off New Road Roundabout
Northbourne, Bournemouth
Dorset, BH10 7DA
Tel: 01202-593537
Registered Charity No 900325
Website marketing services provided as a donation from MfP Website Marketing, Bournemouth