Durham Wasteland To Be Transformed Into Greener Living Space With

Friday, 19 March 2010


Today Marks & Spencer and environmental charity Groundwork announced that a neglected, overgrown piece of wasteland sited next to Laurel Avenue Primary School is to be dramatically improved. The area of Sherburn Road will become one of the 'Greener Living Spaces', supported by money raised from Marks & Spencer's carrier bag charge.


Groundwork North East, supported by M&S, asked local residents and businesses for their opinion on how best to enhance the attractiveness of the site. Now local nature-lovers can look forward to trees and shrubs, specially-designed sculptures, a special seating area and the creation of informal footpaths, improving the walk route between Sherburn Road and Durham.


With work commencing in April, a nature area for the whole community to enjoy is expected to be in place by August 2010.


On Tuesday, March 23rd the Mayor of Durham City, County Councillor Dennis Southwell, will mark the launch of the £155, 000 project by cutting the first piece of turf on-site.


Following requests from Laurel Avenue Community Association, County Councillor Dennis Southwell secured the first £25,000 for Sherburn Road Nature Area before appointing Groundwork North East to take the project forward. Groundwork North East have worked in partnership with M&S, Durham County Council, Home Group  Limited, Three Rivers Housing, Sure Start and local community groups.


Funded by the profit from the 5p* M&S charges for food carrier bags, to date 63 projects** from play areas and gardens to community spaces are completed or underway. With new projects located right across the UK, from London to Glasgow via Cardiff and Reading, the second year of the partnership is increasing the geographical spread of 'Greener Living Spaces'.


Marks & Spencer has been charging 5p* for food carrier bags in all of its UK stores since May 2008 with the aim of encouraging customers to reduce the number of bags they use. Since then the initiative has:

  • reduced M&S carrier bag usage by 83%, from 464 million to 77 million bags;
  • raised over £2m for Groundwork, which has:
  • funded 63 'Greener Living Spaces' projects.
  • encouraged over 5,000 people across the UK to get involved in and support the projects  - including over 750 M&S store employees.
  • improved an estimated 230,000 m² of redundant or under used space across the UK - equivalent to 28 football pitches.


Angela Lord, manager of M&S Durham said, "Staff at M&S Durham are thrilled to be part of a project that truly boosts local pride in our area. Our customers have been overwhelmingly supportive of the campaign to reduce carrier bags use and the Sherburn Rd Area project shows that a simple idea can really take off when local people take it to their hearts. We can't wait to see the results in August!" 


Local Member Councillor Dennis Southwell, Mayor of Durham said, "The Sherburn Road Nature Area is another great reason for local people to take pride in their area. They can look forward to summer walks into Durham city centre, with fantastic views of the cathedral. This project opens up all kinds of opportunities for local children to discover and learn more about nature with a fantastic resource right on the doorstep of local schools and the Children's centre. "


Christine Corker, Project Officer, Groundwork North East said, "The enthusiasm with which local people have grabbed this opportunity to improve their own area is nothing short of fantastic, and there are lots more opportunities between now and August for everyone to get involved. From planting to litter picking; from making bird feeders and bird boxes, to even helping an artist design sculptures for the site."



For more information on Groundwork, please contact:

Christine Corker                      Groundwork North East                      01207 524803


Notes to Editors

For more information on the partnership please visit www.marksandspencer.com/groundwork

*All of the 1.85 pence profit from the sale of single use food carrier bags is donated to Groundwork.

For further information, go to http://plana.marksandspencer.com/waytosavecalculator


** List of projects:


Making Sandiacre Greener                                  Ilkeston, East Midlands 

Blythe Hill Children's Play Area                           Lewisham, London

Springwell Estate Community Allotment               Gateshead

Grozone Community Garden                               Northwich

Melrose Place - Natural Play Area                       Rochdale

M&S Wildlife Meadows in Burnley                       Burnley

Wildlife!                                                             Glasgow

Saunders Park                                                   Brighton

Palmer Park Natural Play Area                            Reading

Cemaes Community Park                                   Cardiff

Foley Field                                                        Stoke-on-Trent

Parker Street Growzone                                     Birmingham

Rotherham Adventure Playground                        Rotherham

Green Sponge                                                   Sheffield

Pulman Street Green                                          Hull


About Groundwork

  • Groundwork is a national charity working with partners to improve the quality of people's lives and the places where they live, work and play.
  • Groundwork's projects help local people get practically involved in making decisions and managing improvements in their neighbourhood and encourage people to make healthier and greener lifestyle choices. This ranges from working with children and young people to create sports facilities and 'outdoor classrooms', to providing training and jobs for the long-term unemployed as they regenerate major areas of derelict or waste ground.
  • Last year Groundwork supported nearly 6,000 projects across the UK supported by central and local government, businesses, charitable trusts and the National Lottery. As a result of those projects more than 80% of people involved felt their neighbourhood was a better place to live and felt more able to influence decisions affecting their community.
  • Groundwork will use the money raised from the carrier bag charges to support local projects in towns and cities across the UK.
  • See http://www.groundwork.org.uk/ for more information.