Green-fingered residents breathed new life into a derelict allotment site on Shields Road in Sunderland – and are now plotting ways to grow their own fruit and veg.
Environmental regeneration charity Groundwork North East devised plans to revive the disused patch of land, then hand it over for the local community to use. And the organisation’s efforts to clear the overgrown area were boosted when a group from construction and engineering giant Balfour Beatty turned out to lend a hand.
The firm decided to offer its support to the project after being involved in the construction of several schools and the award-winning Aquatic Centre in Sunderland.
The volunteers have set about the task of clearing the site, building a polytunnel, laying a new footpath and repairing and painting a shed.
Once the work is completed, local residents, schools and other community groups will be encouraged to take up a plot and discover the benefits of growing their own produce.
Senior project officer for Groundwork, Nichola Ramshaw, said: "The site had been out of action for some time, so we were keen to bring it back to life for the good of the local community.The volunteers from Balfour Beatty have been a great help.
"And, even though the work on preparing the site has only just started, we have already had people interested in looking after plots."
And she issued a plea: "It would be fantastic to hear from anyone else in the Shields Road area who would be interested in maintaining an allotment plot here."