Schoolchildren gave a helping hand as a programme which aims to get communities clean and tidy moved to its new destination.

Children from Greenland Primary School at South Moor joined in with a litter pick as part of Durham County Council’s Operation Spruce Up which has just begun its work in the village.

Spruce Up is a 14 month initiative in which council teams work with community groups to give town and village centres a deep clean.  It moves to a new destination each month.

Work began in South Moor on Tuesday and involves councillors, Stanley Area Action Partnership (AAP) and local businesses.

Centred on Front Street, Spruce Up is seeing footpaths swept and cleared, bins and fencing painted and cleaned and weeds removed from paths and green spaces.

Channels are being cleared, chewing gum removed from footpaths and bollards and lamp posts painted. Teams are also clearing gullies, pruning trees and renewing street markings.

The programme will see assemblies taking place at the school to educate children on the importance of keeping their community tidy. Pupils there are also designing posters to go up around South Moor to get the same message to its older residents.

Cllr Brian Stephens, the council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “We’re delighted to be in South Moor and will be working as hard as we can to get it looking ship shape.

“It’s great to have the community on board and especially the children from Greenland school who were very enthusiastic in joining in with the litter pick.

“Hopefully local residents will be pleased with the results once our work is done.”

Mark Stewart, headteacher at Greenland, said: “As a community school it’s great that the children of Greenland can be involved in such an important initiative.

“Supporting Spruce Up in such a hands-on way is fantastic and really encourages them to take pride in their community. 

“We are looking forward to welcoming the Spruce Up team into our assembly to learn more and get started on the poster competition, there are some fantastic creative ideas already.”

The programme launched in November 2016 and is calling at one town or village per AAP area each month, until the end of the year.

It has already taken in Spennymoor, Fencehouses, Framwellgate Moor and most recently Crook.

Activity there during February focused on North Terrace and the area surrounding the War Memorial.

It involved the 3 Towns Area Action Partnership and saw new ‘sustainable’ planting around the memorial.

Oliver Sherratt, the council’s head of direct services, said: “Reaction to Operation Spruce Up has been positive everywhere we have been.

“The programme allows us to do the kind of work we sometimes don’t get time for and the idea is that by getting local people involved, it will foster a real sense of pride in where they live.”

Businesses and community groups interested in getting involved in Spruce Up can email civicpride@durham.gov.uk or call 03000 261 000.
More information is available at www.durham.gov.uk/spruceup