DIGGING – Just Do It.
An army of volunteers from Wearside-based sportswear giant Nike pitched in to transform derelict allotment plots into a new community space.
More than 70 workers from the firm, which has its UK headquarters at Doxford International, joined a team from environmental charity Groundwork North East to support its community allotment project.
The scheme at the Shields Road allotment site is part of a city-wide project to bring derelict plots into use by people in the community.
Claire Hutchinson, senior project officer at Groundwork North East, said: “The support from Nike is fantastic and will really kickstart the garden into action.
“We are very grateful Nike decided to choose us for its corporate volunteering day.”
The Nike team was led by four staff members who had been trained by Groundwork staff.
Claire added: “The Nike volunteers were enthusiastic, hard working and we all had a great day.”
The allotment project is funded by Sunderland City Council’s North Area committee and supports the council’s Love where you Live campaign.
Carole Ewart, employee marketplace manager at Nike, said: “Our employees really enjoy coming together and taking part in a project that benefits communities.
“It was hard work, but it was a great bonding exercise and the whole team is delighted to have been able to do something which will make a difference.”
After dirty plots are renovated, Groundwork develops the fabric of the site and creates community user groups to run the facility, providing a long-term sustainable resource for people living nearby.
The gardens are divided up into mini-plots, which are taken up by agencies, support groups and residents, with the aim of providing increased physical activity and promoting a healthier lifestyle.
The site in development at Shields Road is one of two new sites in north Sunderland, both funded by the city council. The other is in Marley Pots.
Councillor Richard Bell, chairman of the North Area Committee, said: “We are delighted to support Groundwork in its aim to renovate derelict allotments in Sunderland and importantly, to encourage community ownership.”