PHOTO CALL: Official opening by Councillor Dale Smith, Lord Mayor of Bradford, Hirst Wood at 10.30am on Friday, 13 July.
A piece of neglected waste land in Bradford’s Hirst Wood is now bearing fruit thanks to a local community group and a green-grant from Northern Gas Networks.
The north of England's gas distribution company has stepped in to provide Hirst Wood Regeneration Group with a £1900 grant towards its goal of breathing new life into a section of overlooked scrub land.
The project has drawn the attention of the Lord Mayor of Bradford who will officially open the site on Friday (13 July).
The Jubilee Blossom Orchard has been cleverly created from an unused section of scruffy, weed-ridden land reached by a footpath between 13 and 15 Hirst Wood Road.
Locals know the land was sometimes used as a dumping ground, but thanks to the work of the Hirst Wood Regeneration Group and the investment by Northern Gas Networks and other sponsors, it has been transformed into a community space, complete with free fruit, in season.
The funding came from the Northern Gas Networks grants programme - 'Northern Green Networks' - which supports green-themed community schemes. Over the past four years, more than 70 groups from across the North East, Yorkshire and Cumbria have shared in £240,000 worth of grants from the programme, with the money supporting projects ranging from bat boxes to bird sanctuaries.
Susan Wareham from Northern Gas Networks said: "We're delighted we could help the group out. This a terrific project, and the enthusiasm of the local supporters is infectious. We know the orchard will be well used by the wider community for many years to come."
The funding from Northern Gas Networks has been combined with jubilee funds, help from Incommunities, Bradford Council Parks & Leisure Department, and Shipley Area Committee.
Volunteers have put a great deal of work into creating the orchard which features apple, pear, cherry, plum, peach and apricot trees along with a wild flower meadow and 200 flower hedge plants.
Shipley Green Party councillor Martin Love said: "The creation of this wonderful community space from a piece of long-neglected waste ground shows the value of having a hard-working group of dedicated local residents in an area.
He continued "The Hirst Wood Regeneration Group have made a massive difference to their community during my time as a councillor and have been instrumental in the success of projects to deliver the children's play area and the multi-use games area on the recreation ground as well as improving the area around Hirst Lock, and now this community orchard. All this in addition to regular community clean-ups and other day-to-day good work."
For more information regarding the Lord Mayor's visit or the Hirst Wood Group in general please contact Hirst Wood Regeneration Group secretary, Pauline Bradley-Sharp on 01274 826160
For more details on Northern Green Networks or Northern Gas Networks please contact the media team on: 0113 2385094.
Caption: Hirst Wood Regeneration Group secretary Pauline Bradley-Sharp receives the Northern Green Networks award from Susan Wareham, Head of Human Resources, at Northern Gas Networks.