VOLUNTEERS were lauded for their “brilliant” efforts in Coleford on the weekend to give a town centre car park some much-needed TLC.

Members of the Coleford Welcomes Walkers (CWW) group headed to the main council-run car park on Sunday (January 29) to help get the town centre looking its best for residents and visitors by clearing pathways and parking spaces of long-built-up mud and fallen leaves.

The group had a lengthy wait of around six months to obtain a licence from Forest of Dean District Council (FODDC) to host the clean-up, but having finally made a start last week, they will now meet every Sunday until the job is complete.

Over two hours, five group members - Debbie, Jack, Paula, Anthony and Martin - donned high vis vests and grabbed spades and brushes to scrape and sweep up the rotting leaves and mud which had settled at the edges of the parking spaces, before loading it into green garden waste bins.

The collected waste will now be recycled by the council on the compost heap at Drybrook allotements.

The group posted pictures of the volunteers carrying out the works on Facebook and received hundreds of likes and comments from locals who appreciated their efforts.

One person said: “Amazing what a couple of hours can achieve! Well done everyone involved!”

Another commented: “Great work and safer for older folks using this area for Drs, vets, chemist etc. Thank you.”

Group chair Debbie Sturgess said of the project: “Whist CWW is predominantly about improving the overall walking experience in and around Coleford to enhance the economic growth of our town, we see it that the town should be welcoming to not only visitors but residents too.

“Areas that needed a lot of TLC are the two car parks as it’s fair to say they are in terrible state and reflect badly on the overall image of our town.

“We can all sit back and say “well that’s FODDC’s responsibility” and do nothing as individuals or we can harness the power of our community and make a difference and take pride in where we live.

“We worked with FODDC for a period of six months to secure an agreement resulting in a licence and have PLI to cover our work. All work is agreed before we commence.

“We will meet every Sunday until the work is completed on the car parks from 10am to 12 noon.”

CWW is part of the national Walkers Are Welcome network, which aims to boost the economy and physical and mental health of residents and visitors to UK towns by encouraging and promoting walking.

In the past year, the group has worked to map and clear all of Coleford’s registered footpaths for use, and are currently working with local businesses, including SPP Pumps on Mushet Industrial Park, to improve the surroundings of the Coleford to Milkwall cycle track.

Due to health and safety, anyone interested in helping the group with the car park clean-up need to get in touch by emailing [email protected].