A GROUP of volunteers who save BCP Council more than £17,000 a year have been honoured for their efforts by a national charity.

The Friends of Coy Pond, one of the oldest Friends groups in Poole having been formed in 1998, have been awarded ‘Outstanding’ by the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom for the third year in a row.

The RHS estimates that the group saves BCP Council more than £17,000 every year by voluntarily maintaining the pond areas in Bournemouth Upper Gardens and Poole’s Coy Pond Gardens.

Group spokesperson Wayne Hancock said: “Our two ambitions are to create an attractive area for visitors and locals alike and to create a haven for wildlife, birds, bees, butterflies and other insects by planting suitable flowers and shrubs.

“In 2017, a team of new volunteers joined the existing small group of Coy Pond gardeners, who were doing their valiant best with the large area. Other enthusiastic gardeners have swelled the ranks and we now number approximately 25 with about 12 to 15 attending on Tuesday mornings.”

The group maintains the 550-foot rockery in Poole’s Coy Pond Gardens, the longest on the south coast, and its surrounding green areas.

In 2018, the group applied for funding to build a Japanese style bridge to be at the eastern end of the rockery to make the restored area more accessible. The application was successful and the bridge was built one year later.

Friends of Coy Pond do not receive any financial assistance from the Council, existing on donations and assistance from local companies.

Councillor Mark Anderson, portfolio holder for environment, cleansing and waste said: “We are really appreciative of the fantastic work the Friends of Coy Pond Group undertake in maintaining their local area, which shows brilliant community spirit.”

Almost all the plants for the rockery were donated by gardeners and residents in the region. Free soil used by the group is provided by ECO Sustainable Solutions Ltd.

Visit friendsofcoypond.co.uk for more information.