Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens is a voluntary community group that was formed in 2012 to restore and preserve Pontefract’s Valley Gardens, an urban green space which had suffered decades of neglect.

Location: Pontefract, West Yorkshire

Through voluntary action, individual donations and grant awards the group have succeeded in improving the Valley Gardens as an excellent recreational space for the Pontefract community.

Over the last seven years, the group have recreated a sensory garden, replanted over 30 rose beds, installed a children’s playground and picnic benches, as well as installing an outdoor stage for the community to enjoy.

The group work with local young people to get them involved in the garden, and regularly attend local schools to instil a sense of ownership and pride in the space. This also includes working with the Princes Trust to offer volunteer opportunities.

Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens has over 50 members and an active volunteer force of 20 people ranging in age from teenagers to pensioners and will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Valley Gardens in 2020.

Dr Colin White, Chair, Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens said:

Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens are delighted that we are Groundwork Community Awards finalists and receiving national recognition for our achievements. We have been fortunate recipients of two Groundwork Tesco Bags of Help grants which have been a great help to us in restoring and enhancing our Valley Gardens, a beautiful urban green oasis held in great affection by the people of Pontefract.