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SARA volunteers bring Summer to Southwick

June 3, 2021

Sara plant volunteering southwick

Volunteers in Southwick have teamed up with Southwick Altogether Raising Aspirations (SARA) to bring summer to the city by planting new flowers along the Green.

Keeping in line with social restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SARA has organised several volunteering events coinciding with National Volunteers Week for residents to get involved with.

Based at Austin House on Shakespeare Street, Southwick, SARA brings together Sunderland City Council, Northumbria Police, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, Adult and Children's services, housing, education and health representatives to rejuvenate Southwick, as well as help support residents in the area.

The project started up in 2020 following various multi-agency discussions on how to breathe fresh life into the area, including working together to tackle a range of issues including crime and disorder, mental health, and unemployment.

Taking place across three days, SARA called on residents to volunteer their time and skills on Southwick Green by digging up the old flowers and dirt, and then planting the new flowers. Cllr Alex Samuels and Cllr Michael Butler joined volunteers from SARA, Southwick Village Green Preservation Society as well as individual residents who went along to help transform the area.

The flowers were all grown locally at Sunderland Home Grown in Thompson Park which included Petunia Surfinias, Germaniums, Gazinas, Cosmos and Dahlias. Funding for the plants was received from the North Area Committee's Community Chest, with support from local ward councillors.

Vicki Neal, a Community Engagement Worker at SARA, said: it was great to help make this part of Southwick Green an area which is maintained for the community, by the community. We had so many lovely comments from passers-by while we were planting, and we can't wait to see the community enjoying the flowers in the summer.

Cllr Claire Rowntree, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: Southwick Green now has a breath of new life with the new flowers planted by our volunteers across the bank holiday weekend. I'd like to thank SARA, and all residents who took their time to rejuvenate the area. I look forward to seeing Southwick Green in full bloom later this summer.

Cllr Linda Williams, Portfolio Holder at Sunderland City Council, said: Sunderland City Council is encouraging more residents to get involved within their communities and volunteer, especially across National Volunteer Week. We are committed to supporting anyone who wishes to volunteer and will provide the necessary information and guidance in doing so. I encourage everyone to be inspired by the brilliant work in Southwick and get involved.

To get involved with volunteering opportunities in Southwick, contact SARA directly by emailing LetsTalkSARA@sunderland.gov.uk or phoning 07867156667.  

Find out more about volunteering in Sunderland at www.sunderland.gov.uk/volunteering

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