A Teesdale community centre’s pond has been restored to its former glory, thanks to the helping hands of a group of volunteers.

Northumbrian Water workers got stuck in during a clear-up of the pond at The Hub, Barnard Castle, which was almost entirely covered in green pondweed, on Wednesday November 1, 2017.

They were joined by the Environment Agency, and worked under their professional guidance to clean the non-native weed from the surface of the pond to stop it spreading, and clear up weeds and plants in the area.

Together with volunteers from The Hub, the 14-strong group cleared more than 150 wheelbarrows full of pondweed throughout the day.

The action was prompted as part of Northumbrian Water’s Rainwise initiative in the area, which aims to work more closely with communities to reduce the risk of future flooding.

Project Manager, Chris Bond, said: “We’re looking for opportunities in Barnard Castle that will allow us to manage rainwater in its natural environment and The Hub, with its green roof, green spaces and rainwater planters, is a shining example of this.

“It’s important that we give something back to the local communities we’re working in and today’s project offered us a great opportunity to work in partnership to look after the environment and help keep this fantastic pond in great condition so that it can continue to be enjoyed by everyone.”

The pond, which is a valuable habitat for wildlife, is often used as an educational resource by local schools in the area.
Louise Poole, Environment Officer at the Environment Agency, said: “The pond provides a fantastic place for wildlife and people but has started to become clogged up with a non-native plant called Curly Water Thyme.

“This plant is originally from Southern Africa and has in the past been sold as an oxygenating plant for aquariums and ponds. Unfortunately, it outcompetes native plants and depletes oxygen levels. It is now illegal to sell the plant but it can be transferred from one site to another accidentally.”

Northumbrian Water is continuing to explore flood reduction opportunities in the area through Rainwise. To keep updated on the project, visit www.nwlcommunityportal.co.uk and follow the link to the Barnard Castle page.

For more information on Rainwise and how you can get involved, visit www.nwl.co.uk/rainwise