A BIG thumbs-up has been given to a new community space that has transformed an eyesore area of a neighbourhood.
The former car park – previously branded a “bombsite” – at St Oswald’s Church Hall, in Milbank Road, Hartlepool, has been converted into a community garden.
The £60,000 project, in one of the most deprived areas of the town, was officially unveiled by Father Graeme Buttery, of St Oswald’s Church.
Project leaders say the garden will provide a much-needed place where people of all ages in the Dyke House area can go to relax.
It features decking, raised flower beds, seating and artificial turf.
The scheme is a partnership between St Oswald’s Church and the Wharton Trust charity.
Sacha Bedding, manager of The Annexe, said: “People have already started using the garden. “I came to work one day and a young girl said ‘we have been in the garden’, which is lovely.
“Previously, the area was closed up and people couldn’t access the space.
“It’s just another thing for the people of Dyke House.
“If we can do this, what else can we do? There’s nothing we can’t do.
“Children can play there, people can have picnics – it will certainly improve wellbeing.
“It’s a little sun trap, people will be able to have barbecues.”
Father Graeme Buttery, of the church, said: “I think it’s brilliant.
“The space has been an issue for the church for a lot of years, it was basically a bombsite. It’s for use not just for the church but as something for the whole community.
“First of all there was nothing round here and secondly it’s nice that the folk of Dyke House have something that’s theirs and for them.”
Fr Buttery praised Hartlepool Borough Council in helping the project come together, as well as Wharton Trust.
He said the church hopes there will be a continuation of other schemes in association with the trust.
Fr Buttery added: “It’s improved the area greatly.
“It’s an extra resource for the church and those who want to come in, teenagers and everyone else is welcome.”
A poppy-themed mosaic put together by the community will be placed in the garden in time for Remembrance Day.
The work, which took eight weeks, was carried out by town firm Dawson Landscapes and special thanks have gone to Steve Wilkie from Dawson’s.
The funding has come from Impetus Environmental Trust and the Tees Valley Community Foundation.
A planned visit to the garden by Bishop of Jarrow, The Right Reverend Mark Bryant, has been put back until May.
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