Green-fingered volunteers transform run-down allotment into community garden

Mini garden helpers.
Mini garden helpers.
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Green-fingered volunteers have transformed a run-down allotment into community garden.

The Deneside Action Group (DAG) has renovated the outdoor space in Deneside, Seaham, with the help of Durham Constabulary.

Police staff and group members.

Police staff and group members.

The group’s latest venture has seen them create a garden complete with a fruit and vegetable patch, polytunnel and outdoor seating area.

Over the past seven months, volunteers have laboured tirelessly to make the overgrown allotment ship-shape for all to enjoy.

Group member, Zoe Metcalf, 41, from Deneside, said: “Anti-social behaviour has gone right down.

"There is a real community spirit now.

Garden helpers.

Garden helpers.

"That was always our aim.”

PCSO Aimee Guest, who works closely with DAG, said: “They have completely transformed the overridden area into a peaceful oasis for the community.

“They continue to inspire me by their initiative and drive to create change for the good of the local people. I am extremely proud. It can now become the heart of the estate. It is open to all.”

Group members, Durham Police Chief Constable Mike Barton and fellow officers, the Mayor of Seaham, and Seaview Primary schoolchildren attended the official opening in July.

Garden opening.

Garden opening.

The Mayor of Seaham, Sonia Forster, said: “It is fantastic. It brings back memories of my childhood in Deneside where I was brought up on vegetables from the greenhouse.

“The people of Seaham are so kind and everyone wants to help everybody.”

Mr Barton, who wasted no time in asking for a trowel to do his bit, said: “It is about bringing generations together. It encourages people to take pride in their surroundings and it is the basic building brick of civilisation. It not only visually enhances the surroundings but people can grow their own dinner.”

He added: “However there is a problem with marestail so if anyone has any suggestions on how to get rid of this then please let us know?”

Police staff with the Mayor of Seaham, Sonia Forster.

Police staff with the Mayor of Seaham, Sonia Forster.

Seaview Primary schoolchildren have recently created six murals for the garden with the help of Michelle Harland from Creative Youth Opportunities which are set to be installed next week.

DAG was set up with support from Durham Constabulary in 2014 as part of the ‘Mutual Gain project’ which was commissioned by the Force. They organise litter picks, hold sponsored events and arrange community football matches.

The group are looking for more volunteers to get involved, whether it is helping at the allotment or organising events. Please contact their Deneside Action Group Facebook page.

Police staff and Seaview School children.

Police staff and Seaview School children.

A mural set to be installed.

A mural set to be installed.