Photography competition to shine a light on Backhouse Park

A photography competition will shine a light on one of Sunderland’s most historic parks.

Monday, 14th September 2020, 4:45 pm

It’s not as well-known, or as manicured, as Mowbray Park and Barnes Park, but Backhouse Park has a more wild charm all of its own.

Now park-goers are being asked to capture how they spend their free time in the park, which has entrances in Ashbrooke and off Ryhope Road.

There’s six categories in total. Dogs in the Park, Children’s Games (your own children only), Nature, Wild Animals, Art Photos and Cleaning up the Park.

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Launch of the Backhouse Park photography competition. From left volunteer ranger Irene Sawcka, Cllr Michael Dixon, ranger superviser Neil Brown, Sunderland Council enviroment officer Katie Kelly and ranger Daniel Krzyszczak.

Open to all children and adults who live in Sunderland, the competition is being run by ICOS (International Community Organisation of Sunderland) in conjunction with East Rangers and Sunderland City Council.

Daniel Krzyszczak, manager at ICOS, said: “There’s not much positive news at the moment, but we’re doing a lot to improve the park and we feel like this competition is a great way of shining a light on the park.

"We’ve been doing a lot of litter picks with local schools and youth groups and it’s led to a lot of other people taking pride in the park and a sense of ownership.

"Anyone can enter the competition, no matter what their age, and we’re really looking forward to seeing the entries as there’s not as many photos of Backhouse Park as there are of other parks in the city. Hopefully, when it’s possible, we can use the images for an exhibition.”

Backhouse Park, Sunderland.

With help from the council, other improvements have included larger bins and turning an old water fountain into a blue flowerbed. ICOS are also working alongside Friends of Backhouse Park to create a wildflower garden as part of a new WWI memorial garden within the park.

St Michael’s ward councillor, Michael Dixon, said: “Thanks to Friends of Backhouse Park and ICOS things are definitely improving in the park and there’s a lot more attention being given to it. As a ward, people take a lot of pride in this park and it’s a great amenity.”

Formerly Ashburne Park, Backhouse Park was gifted to the Corporation of Sunderland in 1922 by Thomas William Backhouse, along with Ashburne House, an impressive Grade II-listed building which is currently being sympathetically restored and turned back into a family home.

Katie Kelly, environmental services officer with the council, said: “We’re working to take out what doesn’t need to be here, such as rotten posts, while enhancing the entrance, adding more clear signage and making it more accessible to people.

Backhouse Park, Sunderland.

"We do the basic maintenance, but the work of the volunteers to enhance the park really complements what we do.”

The competition will be judged by Newborn Story Photography and each category winner will receive a professional print of their image, with the overall winner receiving a family photo shoot.

You can submit your entries, along with your name and names of categories you’re entering to [email protected] All entries need to be submitted by September 23, 2020.

For more information on the competition and the terms and conditions visit icos.org.uk/rangers/

Last year St Aidan's Catholic Academy pupil take part in a clean up of Blackhouse Park with Coun Michael Dixon and Coun Peter Wood (R)

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