Coun Alan Kerr, Geoff Dawson of Groundwork and West Park Friends chairman Paul Moore with pupils from St Bede’s and Epinay schools
The West Park Wildlife Area in Jarrow, which was launched just a week ago, is already an award-winner.
The Wildlife Area was conceived two years ago and developed through the hard work and enthusiasm of the newly formed Friends of West Park and funded entirely by Community Spaces. Wildflower bulbs and plug plants, as well as trees and shrubs have been planted in their thousands to give a swathe of colour for human visitors to enjoy and an improved habitat for wildlife.
Just a few days before the launch the Friends won the Greener South Tyneside category in the Pride of South Tyneside awards organised by the Shields Gazette in partnership with the Customs House and South Tyneside Council.
Friends chairman Paul Moore said: “We weren’t expecting it at all, and it’s so nice to be recognised for what we do. We’re delighted with the way the scheme has worked out. We have 15 members and the more who join, the more we can do.”
In the park, the Community Spaces grant has provided picnic tables, a path through the woodland to an ‘outdoor classroom’ log seating area, interpretation panels and nature trail posts that lead visitors on a self-guided’ walk.
More than 40 pupils from Epinay Business and Enterprise School and St Bedes RC JMI School attended the launch. The schools were involved in designing the site and the nature trail.
Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council and a member for the Monkton ward, which includes West Park, officially launched the scheme.
He said: “The Friends, Groundwork and Community Spaces have done a great job. I’m proud to be able to support residents in their efforts to keep West Park looking its best.”
Geoff Dawson, operations manager for land and neighbourhoods for Groundwork, which planted trees and shrubs, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to help the Friends turn their dreams into a reality.”
The Friends are now embarking on sustainability work, including maintenance of the wildlife area, visiting other similar sites to continue developing the park and organising events in the park.
The Friends are always keen to welcome new members. They meet on the second Tuesday of each month, at 6pm, at West Park Lodge, just off Park Road, Jarrow.