THE number of groups in a green-fingered network in Bolton has doubled over the course of a year.

Bolton Green Umbrella was set up four years ago to bring together like-minded people who want to make a difference to their community.

The network organisation has now swelled to 91 members, twice as many as that figure 12 months ago.

Volunteers from community groups who have transformed their surroundings and those looking to influence others to look after the environment are part of the network.

Co-founder Barbara Hackett, who lives off Crompton Way, said: “It started with me wanting to do litter picking.

“I wanted to litter pick with other people but I could never find anyone else to do it with.

“I thought there must be others like me though and that we need some kind of information hub to get in touch with like-minded people so we set up Bolton Green Umbrella.

“The group really took off two years ago when we got a website set up after we got some funding.

“It has been a massive boon for groups to register with us.

“Residents are taking back responsibility and getting out doing gardening work in parks. It is great for their physical and mental health and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

“People are saying it’s changed their lives.”

The work of the volunteers is having a profound effect on their communities.

One of the most recent additions to the network is a group of volunteers that have transformed Dixon Green Park in Farnworth.

Set up in June, the residents have put their gardening prowess to good use by turning the derelict park into a much brighter place for people to enjoy.

Meanwhile, the Sabden Growers is a kind-hearted group that grows food for disadvantaged families in the Johnson Fold area.

Major clean-up projects have been facilitated by teamwork as well.

The banks of the River Croal, just off Spa Road, along from Queen’s Park, were massively fly-tipped with literally hundreds of bags of household rubbish.

But several litter-picking groups joined forces to clear up the whole area, starting in November 2019 and going back once a fortnight until March this year.

Barbara, who regularly volunteers with the Bolton North Litter Pickers, added: “All the groups are doing lots of hard work and Bolton Green Umbrella is just there to support them.”

The network also benefitted from a Government clean up fund last year and £22,800 has been handed to groups.

For more information about the work that the groups do visit