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New First World War memorial bench part of Find and Fix project at Gilesgate

Published January 12, 2021 11.51am

A brand new tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War has taken up pride of place on a County Durham village green.

Gilesgate ww1 bench

Trevor Jackson-Cartledge from the Find and Fix team (left) with representatives of the residents association and Cllr Corrigan (right)

The memorial bench has been installed at Gilesgate as part of our Find and Fix environmental programme. It is part of a project being delivered with Gilesgate Residents' Association which will also see action taken to ensure works by a renowned artist can be enjoyed for years to come.

Decorated with artwork depicting Poppies and doves, the bench also bears the words Lest We Forget in honour of those who died.

It has been installed at The Duffy by a Find and Fix team in partnership with the residents' association, and funded from the council neighbourhood budget of Cllr Katie Corrigan via Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP.)

The new Find and Fix teams are part of our £31 million investment in frontline services agreed last year to enhance the services valued by residents and which are important in maintaining communities as nice places to live; in which people feel safe and protected.

In addition to our normal green maintenance and street cleaning work, the project aims to fix cleanliness concerns spotted by the teams or raised by communities, such as graffiti, chewing gum, or clearing pathways, as soon as possible.

In Gilesgate, a Find and Fix Team has joined forces with the residents association' for a project which is seeing action taken in The Dragon Park, Edge Court estate and The Duffy.

As well as the memorial, a second bench has been installed at The Duffy, while paths have been cleared and waste and overgrown vegetation removed from Edge Court.

To find out more about Find and Fix, visit our programme website.

The next stage of the project will focus on The Dragon Park. The team will be clearing overgrown vegetation from around artworks in the park, which were the work of County Durham artist Graeme Hopper. Bark chip beds will be installed around the artworks in order that they remain visible and accessible for years to come. Along with repairing street furniture in the area, cleaning graffiti, repairing information boards and giving the whole area a general clean and tidy up, the aim is to make the space a sustainable and useable nature space for all the community to enjoy.

Floral planters are also to be installed in the Sunderland Road area, funded via our It's Your Neighbourhood grant scheme and, again, from Cllr Corrigan's neighbourhood budget via Durham AAP. These will be planted and maintained by local residents.

Cllr Brian Stephens, our Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: "Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, our teams continue to be out delivering the services we know residents value and that includes the work done by our Find and Fix teams in ensuring communities are looking their best.

"We're really pleased with the work that has been done and is ongoing at Gilesgate, with the memorial bench funded by Cllr Corrigan through Durham AAP a lovely addition to the village green and a fitting tribute to those who died in the First World War.

The It's Your Neighbourhood scheme sees us give out grants to projects which support the aims of the Royal Horticultural Society campaign of that name. The campaign encourages communities to come together and make their neighbourhoods a cleaner and greener place to live. Groups in County Durham can apply up until 15 January with information on how they can do so at the It's Your Neighbourhood web page.

"We'd like to thank the residents association for joining with us on this project and we hope local people enjoy the results for years to come."

Chair of Gilesgate Residents' Association Richard Hornby said: "In times like the present, it's important that local people have access to green open spaces and walking routes. The work has made the outside space in our area more accessible and attractive, and we hope this will help improve everyone's mental health over the difficult winter months."

Secretary Carole Lattin added: "We're really grateful for the hard work that the Find and Fix Team has put in. The whole area now looks so much smarter, and reflects how much local people care about it."

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