Friends of Group Volunteering; Brighten Ryton
Environmental Friends of Groups continue to be a development stage of volunteering as discussed in paragraph 45.
In order to illustrate the positive impact the work of Friends of Groups can have, Brighten Ryton can be discussed as an example. Brighten Ryton are an umbrella community group representing a number of smaller Friends of Groups within the Ryton area. These include: Ryton Litter Action Group, Ryton Flowerbed Buddies, Ryton Heritage Group, Ryton Community Forum, Ryton Cemetery and memorial.
The group have been established since the end of 2016 and are active in a number of areas to further develop the Community of Ryton. In more ways than one Brighten Ryton came along and requested to deliver volunteering in ways no other Friends of Groups had before.
The group’s main aim was to protect their heritage sites and green belts, and provide an opportunity to raise funds.
One of the main areas of identified needs of the local community was around Ryton Cemetery. The Friends of Group had identified a need for additional maintenance activities including grass cutting, and weeding etc. above and beyond the statutory provision for the area.
Working closely with volunteers from the group equipment has been provided, training delivered and processes established to cover all necessary public liability issues. This is not currently delivered in any other Cemetery within Gateshead and is a first in the borough.
Due to the joint partnership approach the group have been active in the area which has received very positive feedback from members of the public, Council members and others. While actively volunteering in December 2016 in the Cemetery the group asked 127 visitors to rate the area. A total of 126 people rated the area as either “outstanding” or “very good”.
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