Funding boost for Boldon wildlife sanctuary

delighted: Michael Rogers, Living Waterways project officer.

delighted: Michael Rogers, Living Waterways project officer.

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A SANCTUARY for wildlife is to be created with a £19,000 environmental grant.

Residents and schoolchildren are being encouraged to get involved in a clean-up of the River Don at West Boldon.

The Living Waterways project, a collaboration between the Environment Agency and Durham Wildlife Trust, has been granted the cash through the Community Foundation to create a backwater pond on the river.

Backwaters are ponds that are linked directly to the river and can provide a valuable habitat for an abundance of wildlife.

Rachael McFarlane, of the Environment Agency, said: “We were really pleased with the public response to the proposals for West Boldon.

“We received 114 responses to the project and the majority were very supportive.

“We hope this project will be a real asset to the communityand will be a great example for similar sites elsewhere.”

Michael Rogers, Living Waterways project officer, said: “We are delighted with the clear ambition of the community to get involved with this project.

“Youth groups and residents have agreed to help with a clean-up of the river, which demonstrates the enthusiasm for getting involved and improving the area.”

As well as creating the backwaters, the grant will also pay for public events and a pond dipping platform which will provide an outdoor learning resource for schools.

The River Don backwaters project is being developed in partnership with South Tyneside Council and aims to be completed by March next year.

Residents and schools are involved in a number of events and volunteer days as part of the project, starting tomorrow with a stream clean-up and water vole watch from 10am to 3pm.

Anyone who wants to attend should meet at the footbridge over the River Don at Reay Crescent, West Boldon, at 10am. Bring warm clothes and a packed lunch. All safety equipment will be provided.

For more information call Michael Rogers on 584 3112 or email mrogers@durhamwt.co.uk.

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