Sunderland project helps sow the seeds for community growth

From left, SPACE volunteer Shaun Stevenson, Hollie Jobes with son James, two,garden trustee Graeme Jobes with son Luke, seven,Wayne Doran from Stagecoach North East's Sunderland depot and St Peter's ward Coun Julia Jackson.
From left, SPACE volunteer Shaun Stevenson, Hollie Jobes with son James, two,garden trustee Graeme Jobes with son Luke, seven,Wayne Doran from Stagecoach North East's Sunderland depot and St Peter's ward Coun Julia Jackson.
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A Sunderland community enterprise is sprucing up its neighbourhood this summer thanks to a boost from a local bus operator.

St Peter’s Action and Community Enterprise (S.P.A.C.E) entered Stagecoach North East's Green Santa competition for community groups across Sunderland.

It won an eco prize of £250 which will be used to buy wildflower seeds and plants to give colour and attract wildlife in the community.

S.P.A.C.E involves a group of local people who meet every month to organise community events and address local issues.

The group began its community growth project’ in the summer of 2017, with the aim of improving the neighbourhood by making neglected areas more attractive.

Treasurer Tracey Enguita said: “Last year we mostly cleared grotty areas near the Wheatsheaf that have become a target for fly tipping.

"This summer we hope to plant wild flower seeds and plants to encourage people to stop dumping rubbish there and make the area nicer for the community.

"Wildflower meadows are more than just pretty flowers; they are a lifeline for many different species of insect and animals.’

“We believe that a pleasant community appearance adds to home values, helps attract business investment and improves the neighbourhood reputation.

"Our research shows that beauty is one of the top three factors in creating community attachment, or loyalty, to a particular town or city.

"We are working with the local community garden project, A Space2Grow at St Peters Church, to source our seeds and plants locally which are more sustainable.

"They also welcome volunteers to the garden every Saturday afternoon, where they can learn more about plants and bees.”

Stagecoach North East trainer and bus driver Wayne Doran went along to meet S.P.A.C.E community volunteers and see how they were using their prize money.

He said: “The £250 Stagecoach Green Santa competition prize for St Peter’s Action and Community Enterprise is well deserved and will benefit the environment and the local neighbourhood.

"We hope that everyone in the community enjoys the boost to the local environment and the resulting colourful blooms that the seeds and plants created."