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Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 11.39.26A COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP to promote healthier lifestyles and environmental improvements continues to take root in Sunderland.

Funding provided by Sunderland City Council’s Area Committees through the Strategic Initiative Budget (SIB), is creating an ‘Incredible Edible’ Green Route though the East and West parts of the city.

To mark the start of the route though the community served by the East Area Committee, trees have been planted along Roselea Avenue in Ryhope.

Trees along Hipsburn Drive will also help mark the green route through Barnes which is served by the West Area Committee, with new planters also installed early next year at various community locations.

Ward Councillors and community partners from the respective Area Committees, have supported the funding as part of their ‘maximising greenspace strategy’ to make the best use of all available shared, open community space.

The trees were planted by volunteers from Bishopwearmouth Landscapes, a ‘Not-for-Profit’ Community Interest Company (CIC) who deliver horticultural and landscaping services. They provide volunteering, community based opportunities for adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or other complex needs.

Local ward councillors helped oversee the planting with Chair of the East Area Committee, Councillor Ellen Ball (Ryhope), also joined by the Deputy Mayor of Sunderland, Alan Emerson, and Chair of the West Area People Board, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson (Barnes).

Councillor Ellen Ball said: “Gentoo has been absolutely brilliant in helping us along this journey, they’ve played a massive part providing volunteers and getting people involved.”

Councillor Rebecca Atkinson added: “The route is a lovely walk where you can collect herbs and vegetables or fruits as you go round, which also helps show local children what’s on their doorstep that they can eat and use.

“The trail is ever evolving and can always be added to, and it would be fantastic if every ward could have one creating an Incredible Edibles green route right across the city.”

The route will be led by local people, businesses, schools and voluntary groups and managed by the City Council’s Responsive Local Services Team in partnerships Gentoo.

‘Incredible Edible’ is a City Council funded initiative which Gentoo helped introduce to the city, to encourage local communities and businesses to work together to create edible landscapes where food can be grown and enjoyed by all for free.

It is based on the internationally recognised ‘Incredible Edible Project’ which began in Todmorden, North Yorkshire back in 2008 where it was launched by Pam Warhurst.

An ‘Incredible Edible’ Green Route is already successfully underway in Pallion (West Area Committee).

Here local traders have taken responsibility for planters outside their businesses, each planted with ‘Incredible Edibles’ such as herbs, plants and flowers. Pallion is also home to a secret garden which has seen a secluded, unused piece of land transformed into a garden full of fruit and vegetables.

Nicola Scorer, Green Futures Manager, Gentoo said: “Gentoo has been working with Pam Warhurst for a number of years and we are delighted that the city has been inspired by her work. By sharing skills and resources we can all play a part in supporting local communities, businesses and schools to grow and share food. By working together to build edible landscapes we can benefit our local communities and build a sustainable future. ”

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for City Services, Councillor Michael Mordey said: “This is a fantastic way of bringing everyone together to help improve our health, environment and community spirit.

“The support ‘Incredible Edibles’ has received from local people, businesses and  schools demonstrates what can achieved working together, and we’d like to thank Gentoo for the contribution of land and support which has helped make it all possible.

“The project has captured everyone’s imagination, and I hope that we can introduce the idea in other communities across the city.”

Cllr Mordey added: “Creating community herb gardens has been successful elsewhere but has never been attempted on this kind of scale before in a more urban environment, so I hope everyone in Sunderland will support the idea.”

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