A local environmental group has been presented with an award for turning unused space into a beautiful and productive garden.

The ALT Group, based in Blackhill, have been renovating empty space around Blackhill Comrades Club in order to provide a space for both people and wildlife.

The group has now been awarded a Caring for Your Environment award by Liz Charles, chair of the Environment in Your Community group, to highlight the valuable environmental work the group has carried out.

When the garden is fully productive, the vegetables will be used in the free community meal in the club, which The Alt Group produces every Thursday, and which anyone from the surrounding community can attend.

The ALT Group is a Community Interest Company, created by the local Community for the local Community.

Their aim is to improve the local environment and bring people together, allowing them to start new friendships, learn new skills, and build up support systems.

They received a grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help fund and have built and planted herb and flower beds, planted fruit trees, created compost bins and converted an old shipping container into a funky tool shed.

They were also supported by Growing Durham (a Food Durham project) who helped with the funding application and gave general advice and information about things to try.

Liz Charles, Chair of the Environment in Your Community group, said: “The Alt Group are working in the heart of their community, transforming a long neglected plot of land around Blackhill Comrades Club.

“Local volunteers have already made a big difference with raised beds and planting bee friendly flowers.

“Green shoots are showing and in a few weeks’ time it will start to burst into colour.

“They have great plans for the future and are worthy recipients of this award.”

The Environment in Your Community group is part of the Durham Environment Partnership, in which Durham County Council is a partner.

Terry Collins, chair of the Durham Environment Partnership, said: “It’s wonderful to see such community spirit, and the ALT Group thoroughly deserves this award.

“It’s always heart-warming to see local people really make a difference in their communities, and I’d encourage anyone who might be interested in getting involved to get in touch.”

To find out more about the County Durham Environment Partnership, go to www.countydurhampartnership.co.uk, email environmentpartnershp@durham.gov.uk or call 03000 266 099.

You can also look out for #alltogethergreener on Twitter.

Press release credit: Corporate News Team, Durham County Council