A blooming good effort by volunteers

Community bulb planting in Whitley Bay by Sue Miller, Andre and Jean Laurie.
Community bulb planting in Whitley Bay by Sue Miller, Andre and Jean Laurie.
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A group of residents have rolled up their sleeves in a blooming good effort to transform a park.

Volunteers were on hand to help the recently-formed Friends of Whitley Park to plant thousands of mixed daffodil bulbs as part of their efforts to make Whitley Bay town centre a place for people of all ages to enjoy.

As well as planting thousands of bulbs by hand, more than 45,000 bulbs have been mechanically planted to provide an attractive ground covering to the park’s hillside, ready to flower from February to late May.

The efforts have been supported by Whitley Bay Big Local, which met the cost of the bulbs and the mechanical planting.

Earlier this year, volunteers planted a community orchard and 19 local families each adopted a fruit tree which they have watered and cared for throughout the summer months.

Plans for the park have been well supported by North Tyneside Council.

Jean Laurie, treasurer of the Friends of Whitley Park, said: “The park is already well used by families attracted by the great outdoor play equipment and water-park, but we recognised that with a little bit of extra help, it could become a real community asset.

“Whitley Bay Big Local’s masterplan for the town had identified ways in which the park could be improved and a group of local residents decided to get involved.

“We only set up the friends group last spring so have come an awfully long way with nearly 50 local families involved.”

“Whitley Bay Big Local has really helped, helping us to form the Friends so that we are a constituted body which can apply for grants, providing us with funding to buy plants and equipment and connecting us with the local authority who have been hugely supportive of our efforts.

“We have ambitious plans for the park so are always looking for more volunteers to get involved. There is a role for everyone, those with green fingers and those who have never done any gardening at all, young and old, there is plenty you can get involved in.”

Ray Taylor, board member at Whitley Bay Big Local, added: “Whitley Park is a great example of what can be achieved through collaboration and people working together.

“There we had a group of local residents keen to improve their local park and we have been able to provide both financial and professional support to help them to realise their plans. This really highlights what Big Local is all about; helping and empowering the local community to improve where they live and work.”

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I am delighted to see these improvements being made to Whitley Park, which will surely only add to its appeal as a fantastic place for people to visit and enjoy.

“This is a great example of how local community groups can get together and share their expertise and knowledge to make a real difference to where they live for the benefit of everyone, and I fully commend their efforts.”

To find out how you can get involved and volunteer at Whitley Park or one of the other community based activities within the town, contact sarah.biglocal@yahoo.com

Friends of Whitley Park also has its own dedicated Facebook page @friendsofwhitleypark