A RECREATION field is being given a new lease of life after a community group stepped in to improve the area.

The Friends of Fryer's Field, which was set up at the beginning of 2018, has carried wide range of work to ensure it was safe for residents of Haughton to use safely.

And a £4,000 grant from the Banks Group has enabled the Friends to install new lighting along the path of the recreation ground to make the route safer for walkers, joggers and cyclists during the hours of darkness.

Gifted to the children of Haughton by Frederick Fryer in 1930, Fryer’s Field’s facilities already include a playground, basketball court and junior football field.

The group has also been able to add bespoke new seating to the park which was designed and built by well-known Darlington engineering firm Cleveland Bridge.

John Thompson, secretary of the Friends, said: “The recreation ground is a very important part of our community, and the Friends group was formed as a way of maintaining and enhancing what it offers to local people.

“Installing lighting along the footpath was identified as a local priority early on, but there’s no way we could have afforded to get the required work done without The Banks Group’s support.

"We chose an LED lighting system that minimises both energy usage and light pollution, and as well as making the park more accessible to local people, it has the added benefit of discouraging anti-social behaviour.”

Two Tees Wildlife Trust activity days have been held there over the summer, and the Friends are currently planning what other events and activities might be put on there in the future.

Local Darlington Borough Councillor Chris McEwan adds: “It’s been fantastic how the Banks Group has got behind this great project - they have really demonstrated their support for community groups and community action.”

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, says: “The Friends put a huge amount of time and effort into ensuring that Fryer’s Field is the very best that it can be for all the local people that use it, and we’re very pleased to have helped them complete this latest improvement project.”

Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham, fund manager for the Banks Community Fund at the County Durham Community Foundation on 0191-378-6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.