Getting by with a little help from our friends

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SCARBOROUGH’S list of community groups is sprouting new shoots as three new ‘friends’ groups set up in the town.

The list of friends groups now boasts more than 40 teams of dedicated volunteers, who in past year spent more than 20,000 hours working for the good of their community.

Newly formed groups include the Friends of Albemarle Crescent, the Friends of A2 and the Friends of Grosvenor Crescent.

Also newly established is the Friends of Bowling Green Lane Park in Hunmanby.

The work of these groups has been praised over the years not only by residents who benefit from the tireless voluntary projects, but also by Scarborough Council.

Sheila Johnson, community environment assistant for the authority, said: “I can’t praise the effort and commitment of the volunteers involved in our community groups highly enough.

“We now work in partnership with around 40 groups across the borough, ranging from friends’ groups to in bloom groups to tenants and residents associations.

“They work incredibly hard and are dedicated to the communities in which they live.

“Last year over the whole borough there were more than 20,000 hours of volunteering and we are well on target to beat that this year.”

Community environment officer Roger Burnett, added: “In the last 12 months we have also increased the number of community groups by around 20 per cent.

“People in the borough should be immensely proud of all of those who volunteer, who take ownership of their communities to make them better places to live.”

Scarborough’s Friends Groups organise dozens of public events every year promoting the areas they care for, such as Party in the Park, organised by the Peasholm Park Friends, The Secret Wood event organised by the Friends of Raincliffe Woods, and the Friends of Falsgrave Park’s Park in the Dark, as well as many others.

The first community group to be set up in Scarborough was the Friends of Falsgrave Park which was created when a young park user who was not very happy with the park she played in brought about the formation of the friends group.

She organised a petition to the council asking for improvements to be made to the play area, and in 2001 the friends got together to help raise funds for new play equipment.

Dorothy Russell, chairman of the Friends of Falsgrave Park, who also chairs Friends of Manor Road Nurseries, said: “Its all about trying to get the children and the community involved in something which is part of their heri- tage.

“I love the country side and being out in open space. I like to do things for the community and love getting children involved in outdoor activities.

“We have got great community groups all other town, who work brilliantly alongside each other all working for the same overall cause.”

John Bradley, chairman of the Friends of Raincliffe Woods, added: “I don’t look at it as a job, it’s something I enjoy doing and love being involved with.

“Raincliffe is a wonderful woodland and I feel lucky to be involved with it.”

If any resident wants to get involved in volunteering or would like to set up their own group, they can visit the Community Environment Unit at number 7 Market Vaults in Scarborough, or call Sheila Johnson on 07961 966617.