Ushaw Moor is a former mining town 2 miles from Durham city centre with a diverse population of 7,370. Ushaw Moor Action Group (UMAG) is a small volunteer-run charity established to engage with the whole town community on issues of common interest by working together to encourage community spirit and promote citizen’s empowerment to make a difference locally. UMAG aims to offer spaces and opportunities for local people to meet and make connections via two community sites – The Hut and a Community Garden.
In a bid to create opportunities for local people to meet and make connections, UMAG volunteers run The Hut and a Community Garden.The Hut offers a local venue for parties and clubs, like the local Youth Club, mother and toddler sessions and other community-based events, and was gifted to UMAG some years ago.
UMAG’s community garden was established over a decade ago to improve local mental and physical wellbeing. It covers a 180m2 sloped area with fruit trees, garden beds, a men’s cree, an alpine hut, potting and tool sheds, and sheltered seating. The garden follows a strong environmental sustainability ethos (e.g. organic permaculture approaches) and is home to various wildlife including many birds and hedghogs.
Today, volunteers work hard to maintain the garden's functionality with volunteer sessions on Wednesdays and Saturdays, annual harvest fetes and a program of youth activities over 2022 and 2023. The garden is one of the village’s last remaining publicly accessible outdoor venues and seeks to act as a bridge between different parts of the community, as well as between locals and the natural environment.