Whitley Bay town centre embracing nature with help from green-thumbed volunteers

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A community gardening group is sprucing up another spot of Whitley Bay as part of its mission to bring nature back to the town.

The Hawthorn Wildlife Triangle (HWT) group has sent its green-thumbed recruits to Marine Avenue to bring some TLC to a patch of grass outside Park View Court. The volunteers have thus far planted some hedging and plan to grow wildflowers at the spot later in the year.

Treasurer Richard Smithson said: “The driving force behind this for us is that there is too much concrete around and not enough greenery and anywhere that is unnecessarily concreted should be returned to nature.”

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The group is building on the success of prior projects, including creating a wildlife haven on a formally entirely concrete triangle at Hawthorn Gardens in October last year. The project required the removal of several paving slabs to beautify the area.

Community gardeners tending to a plot on Marine Avenue, Whitley Bay. (Photo by Fiona Robertson)Community gardeners tending to a plot on Marine Avenue, Whitley Bay. (Photo by Fiona Robertson)
Community gardeners tending to a plot on Marine Avenue, Whitley Bay. (Photo by Fiona Robertson)

The natural makeovers, all approved by the local authority, have gained a great deal of public support, according to a Hawthorn Wildlife Triangle member, with members reporting passersby stopping in their tracks to offer their support. The official HWT Facebook group has swollen from just three members in April 2022 to 100 today.

HWT member Louise Ridley said: “We have people changing where they walk or drive around to see how the park is getting on, I hadn’t appreciated how people might change their journeys to see how we are doing now. “

Louise went on to say several members of the public have asked how they can start their own community gardeners’ groups.

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The HWT also hopes to achieve some ecological and environmental wins through its plans, as well as enhance local communities.

Sue Hope, a founding member of HWT, said: “We know we have to get more plants in urban areas. It is part of climate mitigation, we don’t just have a climate crisis we have a nature crisis as well.”

HWT has received some funding from a local charity and community hub, The Whitley Bay Big Local, as well as £100 from Cllr John O’Shea’s community grant scheme.

The group is also open to public donations.

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