Support from a regional employer has helped dozens of members of a Cramlington young people’s project continue to make their garden grow.
Members of the Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project have created a new amphitheatre in the garden at its Station Lane headquarters in the town after partially filling in an overgrown pond.
The circular seating area can accommodate up to 50 people at any one time and is being used for a range of music, play and team building sessions.
The work was funded through a £5,000 grant from the Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund and is the latest in a series of contributions that the family-owned firm has made to the CVYP’s work.
A previous £5,000 grant provided in 2015 paid for a wide range of garden items, including secure storage, planting beds, paving and gravel, drainage and turf and seeds.
An £11,167 grant given in 2011 was used to install a 30m-long raised garden bed at Station Lane in which project members planted a range of vegetable and salad seeds which were subsequently used as ingredients in the project’s kitchens and served in its member-run cafe.
A £4,800 grant in 2009 paid for a range of gardening and sporting equipment, as well as new seating and additional features in its sensory garden.
Active since 1988, Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project runs a range of events, activities and educational sessions for local young people between eight and 18 years old, or up to age 25 for people with special needs.
It has over 1,000 active users, with up to 250 of them taking part on a weekly basis in a varied number of activities around subjects including music, cookery, indoor sports, arts & crafts and ICT, as well as after school clubs and drop-in sessions.
Rob Hall, executive manager at CVYP, says: “Hundreds of local children have been involved with creating and maintaining our garden over many years and it forms a central element of the services we offer.
“The pond was becoming rather costly and time-consuming to maintain, and we felt we could make better use of the area, so after rehoming the fish that lived in it, we’ve gone about creating a unique space that has really enhanced the garden as a whole.
“The work we’ve done has totally transformed the garden and made it an even better location in which our members can enjoy spending their time and learning new skills.
“The Banks Group has been a long-term supporter of our work, and this latest grant has helped us totally transform the garden into an even more attractive and useful space.”
The Banks Group was behind the creation of the world-famous Northumberlandia landform near Cramlington, developed the site of the Chapel Rise residential scheme to the east of the town’s Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and operates the nearby Shotton surface mine.
Jeannie Raine, community relations manager at the Banks Group adds: “Our work in Northumberland over the last four decades has allowed us to deliver a range of tangible benefits to local communities and we’re proud to be a long-term supporter of this immensely valuable project which makes a massive different to the lives of hundreds of young people in and around Cramlington.”
Anyone interested in applying for funding should first contact the fund manager for The Banks Community Fund at the County Durham Community Foundation on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible.