A housing company has been planting the seeds to help bring a community garden to life in Middlesbrough.

Members of staff from Thirteen are supporting residents in Thorntree to create a new garden that will provide vegetables, herbs and attractive flowering plants for people to enjoy for years to come.

As part of the work, staff joined residents on a clean-up of the area and helped to build a number of accessible planters for people to grow food ready for harvesting next year.

Communal garden fencing has been removed to open up the space and allow easier access to the garden, with the fence panels being recycled to build the planters. Thirteen also adopted grass verges from Middlesbrough Council, installed a new picnic bench for residents, erected poly-tunnels and helped residents to clean and tidy the area as part of the campaign.

Middlesbrough councillor Janet Thompson came along to help with the clean-up and the council is helping to transport materials onto the site.

One member of the community who’s at the centre of much of the improvement work has also been thanked for her efforts. Claire Robinson, Thirteen’s neighbourhood co-ordinator for the area, handed over shopping vouchers to thank resident Christine Galloway for her hard work.

Claire said: “Christine has done so much for the area and has been instrumental in getting everybody involved in planning projects and developing a real community spirit among this group of customers.

“As well as the community garden and estate clean-ups, Christine organises loads of the activities in the neighbourhood such as cooking meals for the community, organising trips away and fundraising for everything that happens in the area. Since the summer holidays, she’s helped the community to raise £3,000 for a full range of activities.”

“I think every neighbourhood needs a Christine and these vouchers are just a small recognition of the work that she does to increase community spirit on the estate. Christine and all the other residents also really appreciate the work of our environmental specialist John Woods, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the garden coming to life in the spring.”

Christine said that she’ll be spending the voucher on other projects in the neighbourhood. Future plans include increasing the number of rainwater collection barrels to use for the planters, planting flowers, building bird boxes and hedgehog homes, and encouraging other wildlife into the area.

The community garden is also central to the neighbourhood’s plans to apply for the Northumbria in Bloom competition for 2020.