A CHARITY in Prudhoe has been hailed for helping to improve a local park which has positively impacted residents and visitors.

The Friends of Eastwoods Park was created in 2018 by Russ Greig.

The group was initially started in 2017 to pick litter in the park and keep the park tidy, but a lot more was needed.

Russ said: "The semi-derelict bowls pavilion had been plagued by antisocial behaviour as was the park. So we had to do something.

"There was little interest from other groups for the building which we wanted to be used for the benefit of the community and park users, so we submitted a proposal to turn it into a community cafe and hub.

"This meant income from the cafe could then be reinvested in the park by our charity, and pay for activities and events in the park."

Hexham Courant: CAFE: The Miners Lamp Cafe. Image: The Friends of Eastwoods ParkCAFE: The Miners Lamp Cafe. Image: The Friends of Eastwoods Park

Coun. Gordon Stewart, who represents Prudhoe South, said: "Through bad winters, the pandemic and most recently the storms and cost of living crisis, the massive improvements in Eastwoods Park over the last three or so years has had an immeasurable positive impact upon many residents and visitors."

Russ said: "In 2020, I asked the council to apply for Green Flag Status, which did mean a lot more work was needed to bring the park to a good standard, but our volunteers worked hard in maintaining flower beds and looking after the park. We installed a number of bird boxes and continue to look at ways to improve biodiversity.

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"The park was awarded a Green Flag in 2020 and 2021 and we're working towards an inspection for our third year at the end of May 2022. Achieving the Green Flag was a first for Eastwoods Park and for Prudhoe as a town."

Russ said the cafe is visited by many elderly residents and reduces isolation. "But even just the improvements to the park we have done have seen benefits from residents living near to the park, with reduced antisocial behaviour," he added.

The cafe was forced to close during the pandemic, but the charity saw a significant increase in requests for support from its food bank, and delivered 150 hot free meals each week to elderly and vulnerable people.