Carrier bag charge fund sees £12,000 pumped in to pond project in Hartlepool park

Volunteers and staff at the opening of the Summerhill platform.
Volunteers and staff at the opening of the Summerhill platform.

A Hartlepool country park is now home to a new pond viewing platform thanks to a generous £12,000 grant.

The fully accessible platform at Summerhill Country Park and visitor centre has been created after community charity Groundwork handed over the grant from the Tesco Bags of Help Grants Programme.

Steve Siddle opening the new platform.

Steve Siddle opening the new platform.

It comes as the money raised from the 5p bag charge in Tesco stores is being used to support community participation in the development and use of open spaces.

Administration of the local funding is managed by Groundwork.

The 100-acre park owned by Hartlepool Borough Council is already home to two pond dipping platforms – but it is hoped the new pond viewing platform will provide a sensory experience where people can enjoy the sounds, colours and smells of the natural environment.

Adam Reah, from Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre, said the platform - which is fully wheelchair accessible – is a welcome addition to the site.

He said: “The new pond viewing platform is a great addition to the two pond dipping platforms already provided in the park.

“The platforms at Summerhill are regularly used by school groups and this latest addition allows the three main ponds to be used for science and environmental education lessons.

“The platforms can be used solely by school groups or – if booked in advance – an outreach officer can run a session for groups.

“But the platforms aren’t just popular with school groups; they are also appreciated by the general public who have reported seeing toads, newts, ducks, dragonflies and damselflies.”

The park, off the town’s Summerhill Lane, is both a local nature reserve and outdoor activity centre.

To find out more about Summerhill Country Park and visitor centre visit: www.hartlepool.gov.uk/summerhill