Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 16.53.21More than 20 groups throughout County Durham have been honoured for cleaning up their surroundings.

Durham County Council awarded a number of community organisations up to £500 each to put towards sprucing up an open space in their area.

Volunteers took part in a range of projects, supported by council staff, including tidying up, full revamps and planting or adding floral displays to make areas more attractive and welcoming.

Each group that applied for funding entered via the Royal Horticultural Society’s It’s You Neighbourhood campaign.

The scheme encourages volunteer-led community participation in environmental projects to ‘clean up’ or ‘green up’ their surroundings.

A total of 23 projects from across County Durham were recognised in the campaign and two even picked up awards in the Northumbria in Bloom competition.

One of the projects to benefit was Sunderland Bridge in Bloom who used the funding to create a triangular raised bed on a bare patch of land behind the entrance sign to the village.

Pauline Adams, chairman of the group said: “The grant we received has enhanced the entrance to the village and the plants are thriving and I am sure they will continue to do so as they get lots of TLC and will see us well into the future.

“The funding has also helped us to enhance the seating area, giving passers-by and visitors a very pleasant space to rest. We were also delighted with our great results from Northumbria in Bloom.”

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted that more than 20 groups received funding and took part in the It’s Your Neighbourhood scheme. The results are fantastic and it is extra pleasing to see that two groups were also honoured in Northumbria in Bloom.

“Thanks to everyone who took part and demonstrated pride and commitment in improving their local area for all to enjoy.

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“We’d like to remind community groups that there is still time to apply for funding – this is a great opportunity to make a positive change to the place they live, work or spend their leisure time and help make our county altogether greener.”