Friends of West Park Jarrow celebrate 10 years of transforming 'unloved' South Tyneside park into an award-winning site
A group of green-fingered volunteers are celebrating a decade of maintaining one of South Tyneside's 'best' parks.
The Friends of West Park group are commemorating 10 years of taking care of West Park in Jarrow, with the unveiling of a new park bench.
To mark the anniversary, they were granted funding from the National Lottery Awards for All scheme to install the new bench and an inscribed plaque paying tribute to their hard work.
They also received additional funds to allow them to continue making improvements to the park.
The group, which was set up in 2009 to restore an 'unloved' and 'neglected' West Park, has become a key part of the community.
Over the years, its members have run successful tree-planting campaigns, litter picks and raised money for new picnic benches and a multi-use games area.
In 2012, the group won the Greener South Tyneside Award, and their achievements were recognised earlier this year when West Park became one of only two sites in the borough to be granted the prestigious Green Flag award.
“The park was so neglected and unloved, we started the group to try and improve it and make it somewhere nice for people to come,” explained chairman, Paul Moore, who has been involved since the beginning.
“We have most definitely achieved that, we have turned it from an unloved park into an award-winning one.
“We have a successful gardening group which keeps the park looking its best and a wonderful supportive community,”
Paul added: “We have had a lot of support over the last 10 years and it’s nice to have reached this milestone.
"We’re looking forward to seeing what the next 10 years bring, volunteering in one of the best parks in South Tyneside.”
Coun Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “As a cooperative council, we are committed to working hand-in-hand with community groups such as the Friends of West Park who play an invaluable role in making South Tyneside a fabulous place to live.
“Congratulations to all the group’s volunteers who have given up their time over the last decade to help keep the park looking at its best and retain its coveted Green Flag status.”