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Friends of Sunnybank Vale scoop prestigious neighbourhood award
Wednesday 12th December 2018 @ 10:35 by Tom Greggan
Community Droylsden News Tameside

The Friends of Sunnybank Vale are used to winning awards for their preservation of Droylsden’s green lung.

After all, North West in Bloom has given them the Level 5 ‘Outstanding’ certificate for five years in a row now, while the area has received the Green Flag for the last four years.

However, their latest prize is just rewards for the group’s seven years of hardwork. Sunnybank Vale was named the region’s Best Large Neighbourhood at the North West in Bloom ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ Awards 2018.

For the volunteers, it was a massive honour but also a huge shock! Howard Boots, who helped establish the Friends of Sunnybank Vale back in 2011, said: “For our ex-landfill site to become the Best Large Neighbourhood in the North West; we were utterly gobsmacked. We had been applying for this since 2012.

“It’s really great that this site in Droylsden is now the Best Large Neighbourhood in the North West. Hopefully it will encourage more people to come and enjoy it.”

Since forming in 2011, the Friends have helped transform what was an overgrown, litter-ridden former rubbish tip, into a thriving environment for residents and wildlife alike.

“We get foxes and a lot of birds on there,” Howard added. “And we also installed a wildlife pond.

“We have a maintenance agreement with Greenscape, who are part of LEAP down in Ashton. We wanted to keep it local. This year, we would have resurfaced about 350 metres of footpath.

“We’ve also got a cycle path. People walk, run, cycle and walk their dogs. Residents are taking more ownership and appreciating it for what it is worth. There have been nature events and health walks held on there. It is used and that is the idea. It is there for everybody.”

The Friends of Sunnybank Vale are always looking for more volunteers to join their ranks, while they also have links with Greenside Primary School.

Volunteers can give just one hour a month, completing tasks such as litter picking or woodchip barrowing. For more information, visit facebook.com/FriendsofSunnybankVale1 or friendsofsunnybankvale.weebly.com.