WHEN Laura Gannon became fed-up at looking out on her drab street, she decided to mount a campaign to brighten it up.

Mrs Gannon, of Fairburn Road, on Peterlee's Eden Hill Estate, County Durham, took matters into her own hands and knocked on the door of every one of her neighbouring 55 homes.

And, surprising even herself, the mother of two grown-up daughters, managed to persuade 43 of the residents in Fairburn Road to plant out an outdoor hanging basket.

The residents turned out in force to display their blooming efforts to help transform their community.

Mrs Gannon said that, although her campaign had begun as a one-woman effort, along the way she had enlisted the help of an expert outreach team from East Durham and Houghall Community College.

"I was attending an Aim High course when someone from the college heard about what I was trying to do and offered to help.''

The college team stepped in and provided the baskets and contents all ready for the residents to make up.

Eden Hill, where a number of former council homes have been demolished, is recognised as an area with difficulties.

Mrs Gannon and her husband, Stephen, were keen to see some homespun effort made to help improve the area.

"We thought that by putting up a hanging basket each, it could be the first step to restoring a new sense of pride in the area," said Mrs Gannon.

And her view has proved prophetic with the hanging basket idea helping to bring together the community and giving residents the impetus to continue with other joint ventures.

East Durham and Houghall Community College has now offered the services of its gardening experts to give advice on how residents can improve their gardens in general.