Brighten Ryton LEG was formed in December 2016 in an effort to close the gap between ‘the service level the council are able to provide’ and ‘the aspirations of our community’. We work across the Ryton, Crookhill and Stella ward to restore and maintain the environment. Our activities include litter-picking, flowerbed creation and maintenance, cemetery and memorial gardens maintenance, and heritage site restoration. We work as informally as possible, so that people may focus on enjoying their experience, safe in the knowledge that the community appreciates their input.
A number of groups operate under the umbrella of Brighten Ryton.
Flowerbed Buddies - For many years Ryton had an enviable reputation for its floral displays, winning both regional and national awards. Sadly the loss of local authority funding in recent years meant the beds and baskets slowly began to disappear until only a few of the raised beds remained, and those were either neglected and overgrown or filled with gravel. In response to this a small group of volunteers persuaded the council to leave the last of the beds and they would take on their care. Initially we focussed on the raised stone beds and the beds at the front of the park but as more volunteers came on board, and the formation of Brighten Ryton made funding more secure, the group now known as the Flowerbed Buddies were able to reinstate a couple of verge-side beds, replace the barrier baskets and place some floral tubs along the main road.
Heritage Group - Our heritage group seeks to restore, retain and preserve our heritage sites. In the first instance we will clean up a site then look to improve the visitor experience to that site. We also like to promote awareness of our heritage and have produced two booklets, one Ryton Walks which guides a person on a walk taking in our various heritage sites, one Ryton street names which looks into the meaning behind our street names.
Litter Action Ryton Krew (LARKs) - We are the litter picking group in Ryton. We go out as a group every 2-3 weeks on a Sunday at 10am at a location identified by one of our members as needing our attention. If you can’t commit to every group session just turn up whenever you can, we appreciate that we all have other commitments. We are a really canny group and have a laugh while cleaning up the local environment! If you’d rather go out on your own then please feel free to, we’ll provide you with a litter picking kit so you can work safely. You can also follow LARKs on Facebook.
Cemetery and Memorial Garden Group - Our group are active in a number of cemeteries and memorial gardens across the ward. Working with Holy Cross Church and Gateshead Council to keep the places of remembrance tidy and accessible so people can visit loved ones in a clean and comfortable location.
Long Rose Bed Group - The ‘long rose bed’ runs parallel to the main road and provides a long vein of crimson during Summer months. It is fair to say that the rose bed underwent a period of neglect and routine pruning and weeding was not carried out for some time. Since 2018, volunteers have been successful in keeping on top of these jobs and as a result, the rose bed has had a much more presentable appearance. The small but reliable group who tend the rose bed give their time periodically during the year – usually on selected midweek mornings during Summer months. More volunteers would be very welcome. Guidance can be given so there is no need for prior knowledge of tending roses.
Friends of Ferndene Park - The Friends maintain the landscape elements of Ferndene Park, cutting and edging the grass, planting and maintaining flower beds and rockeries and generally ensuring the park is kept in good order. They are also working on a development plan to try and improve facilities for all park users. The maintenance is all undertaken by volunteers, some of whom take care of specific areas, whilst others help with general tasks as and when required. There is a core group of regular volunteers, and new members are very welcome. The park is extensive, so there is always plenty to do. The Friends run a regular weekly garden gather and natter session on Wednesday mornings, weather permitting, and occasional family volunteer days, usually on a Saturday. The Friends also appreciate the assistance of external groups who support their work. The Co-op staff, Prince’s Trust and Community Payback Team have all made valuable contributions, painting benches, fences and the bowling pavilion and helping with heavy garden tasks. You can also follow the Friends on Facebook.
Ferndene Park Bowling Clubs - The Ferndene Park Bowling Clubs are a fairly recent affiliation of three bowling clubs, Ryton Vets, Ferndene Ladies and Ferndene (previously Bleach Green) Bowling Club who maintain their separate identities but all play at Ferndene park bowling green. Brighten Ryton have concluded their negotiations with Gateshead Council and have just signed a 35 year lease of the bowling green and pavilion.