STUDENT volunteers have dug in by helping to transform a piece of wasteland into a beautiful garden.
Pupils from Education Services for People with Autism (Espa) colleges in Sunderland and Newcastle teamed up with volunteers from Pallion Action Group (Pag) and green charity Ceed to begin making over the site in Falmouth Road, Pallion.
Thirty students aged 16-22 from the college’s Tasker, South Hills and North Rye sites, set to work litter picking and laying a path on the patch of land, which Pag rents from housing group Gentoo.
It is eventually hoped to transform the green space into a community garden, with a sensory garden for disabled users and a kids’ reading area.
Karen Wood, from Pag, said: “We rent the piece of land off Gentoo and we are going to make it into a community garden, which is open from dawn until dusk.
“It is going to be like a secret oasis with a path and sensory garden for the disabled people who use Pallion Action Group and a reading area with a rocking chair.”
Karan Barrass, college co-ordinator at Espa’s Southill site in Sunderland, was put in touch with the project after contacting Sunderland Volunteer Centre to ask about volunteering opportunities for the students.
She said: “I approached Sunderland Volunteer Centre because we wanted the students to be involved in the local community and give something back.
“A lot of our students are quite isolated and we are quite involved with getting them into community projects.
“The volunteering visit was part of our Sustainability Week.
“We’ve also done a fashion show at Ashbrooke Cricket Club, raising money for the charity Scope.
“It was organised with the manager of the Scope store in Sunderland and students modelled charity clothes.”
l Call Sunderland Volunteer Centre on tel. 567 8902 or visit www.volunteersunderland.org for more information.