Volunteers growing their own food in health centre garden

Groundwork Northeast staff with local young people planting vegetables as part of the new green garden beside Houghton Primary care Centre
Groundwork Northeast staff with local young people planting vegetables as part of the new green garden beside Houghton Primary care Centre
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A COMMUNITY garden is in good health, thanks to a team of dedicated volunteers.

The allotment at the Houghton Primary Care Centre, in Brinkburn Crescent, was launched to show budding gardeners how to grow their own food, as well as encourage residents to exercise and meet new people.

Now, to help maintain the site, staff from the environmental charity Groundwork North East have enlisted the help of teenagers from the National Citizenship Service skills programme.

Groundwork’s Al Hill said: “The community allotment is part of a PCT-funded programme Green Activity, a free 10-week gardening and health course delivered all across Sunderland.

“The young people have been great and really helped with weeding and tidying the site.

“We want to thank everyone who took part.”

However, despite the success of the project, Groundwork North East is still on the lookout for more volunteers.

Mr Hill said: “The garden is great, but looking after it has been hard with only a few volunteers.

“We are looking for more local people, youth groups, church groups, women’s groups, in fact, anyone who wants to join in with the project, to get in touch.”

The programme is the latest in a series of community projects spearheaded by Groundwork North East.

As part of a three-year project, it helped transform a former derelict site in St Margaret’s Avenue, in Castletown.

The work included the demolition of rundown garages, which had been targeted by vandals.

Large paved areas were also removed and replaced with trees, shrubs and grassed areas.

The scheme was supported by the Big Lottery Fund, Castletown Neighbourhood Action Group, Gentoo and city councillors.

To become a member of the Houghton community garden, or for more information about Green Activity projects at city sites including Shields Road and Tunstall, contact Mr Hill on 567 2550.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho