WORK is under way to create a mini-oasis in the centre of Hartlepool.

A community garden is being built on what was until recently rough land off the town's Osborne Road.

The L-shaped plot is being transformed into a garden with grass, flowers, seating and a patio area, where residents can sit and relax and toddlers can play, safely fenced in from the road.

The work is the idea of the Stotfold Area Residents' Association (Sara) and has been made possible by two grants.

Sara received £1,300 from New Deal for Communities to put together the plans and demolish a derelict building on the site, which covers about 300sq yards between Osborne Community Hall and the Stage Society Building.

A grant of £2,500 from Hartlepool Borough Council's Pride in Hartlepool initiative has paid for the turf, plants and gardening tools.

Sara has also received help from small businesses.

Brendan Arnell, chairman of Sara, said: "It's a delight to see our vision of a much-needed community garden coming true. We are tremendously grateful both to New Deal and to Pride in Hartlepool, because without their help, the garden would probably never have become a reality.

"Not only does it offer an attractive meeting point where residents can sit and socialise, it also provides a safe space where youngsters can play.

"Local people are putting a lot of hard work into creating the garden and it is a real hands-on project in which people of all ages are working together to create something to be really proud of."