A NEWLY-established green group is already making an impact in its area thanks to additional funding.

West Auckland in Bloom group, consisting of local volunteers and residents, works to brighten up the village and the most recent improvement undertaken has been installing ten planters, full of flowers.

The floral displays were entered into Royal Horticultural Society’s "It’s Your Neighbourhood" competition.

Cllr Rob Yorke and Cllr Christine Wilson offered financial support of £2,000 from their Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership Neighbourhood Budget towards the cost of the environmental improvements.

This was boosted by a £500 grant from the civic pride team, as part of the horticultural society's It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign.

Cllr Wilson said: “We are over the moon to support the bloom.”

Cllr Brian Stephens, the county council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Volunteer groups such as West Auckland in Bloom, which offer their free time, make such a difference to their communities.

"Green spaces and colourful flowers not only make a place more attractive but bring people together and create a sense of pride of place.”

Volunteer Audrey Beck, a member of the group, said: “The improvements to the area have made people happy and have really brought the community together.”

Pauline Walker, senior civic pride officer, said: “Each year, as part of the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood competition, we offer up to £500 worth of funding, to a maximum of 15 groups, in an effort to encourage volunteer-led environmental improvement projects.

“It is a great opportunity for people to get together and make a positive contribution to brighten up their local neighbourhoods and help County Durham shine.”

Cllr Yorke also used his AAP Neighbourhood Budget to contribute towards the World Cup Centenary Sculpture located on the village green.