PEOPLE are being urged to dig in to help a mental health project.

The mental health inpatient unit at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton has been given the use of a council allotment at Thornaby, and now its staff and service users have launched an appeal to help.

The allotment needs a lot of work and patients are looking forward to the challenge of creating a green oasis, but funding is limited.

That has led to an appeal to businesses and individuals to donate cash or materials, such as garden tools, seeds and plants, paving, fencing or even old wooden planks and railway sleepers.

Geoff Hurst, activities co-ordinator, said: "There are proven physical and mental health benefits from exercise and outdoor activities.

"Although we're able to offer a range of activities for inpatients, we do not currently have the space to develop a garden, so to be given an allotment is a real boost to what we're able to offer people."

Anyone who would like to help should call Mr Hurst at the hospital on (01642) 624323.