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Volunteer Police Cadets help transform community garden

20 Aug 2015 00:00 AM

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Northumbria Police Volunteer Police Cadets have helped transform Whickham Hermitage Community Garden as part of a social action project.

Since 2012, more than 70 cadets from the Volunteer Police Cadet scheme have helped transform the community garden and restored a waterfall within the 18th century walled garden.

Before its transformation the site, once part of the Hermitage estate built in the 1700's, had become derelict and had not been used for decades.

Along with community volunteers and young offenders, the police cadets helped restore the garden to its former glory. And, it is now open seven days a week for the community to enjoy - free of charge.

Cadets helped in the consultation and planning of the garden, along with the charity, headed by David Peacock MBE, and in 2012 started digging out the course of the waterfall and removing undergrowth and rubble to start creating waterfall terraces and retaining walls in 2013.

The waterfall was switched on for the first time in November 2014, it was covered in meshing to protect it over the winter.

This summer the cadets are working on decking for a viewing area in the garden.

Volunteer Police Cadet Coordinator Sergeant Alan Parks led the group of cadets through the restoration project.

He said: "It has been great the cadets have been able to get involved in a project within the heart of the community and really make a difference to an attraction that will benefit everyone.

"Seeing the project transform as work progressed has been incredibly rewarding for them and we hope local residents and visitors to the gardens enjoy the setting."

David Peacock MBE said: "The Northumbria Police Cadets have been a great asset to our project, our charity needs the help of volunteers and the cadets have been excellent ambassadors on behalf of young volunteers in Gateshead. We are looking forward to the completion of the waterfall which has been the result of a three year partnership with the cadets."

More information about Northumbria Police Volunteer Cadets is available on the 'Working for Us' section of the Northumbria Police website www.northumbria.police.uk

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