A VOLUNTEER group is celebrating after being nominated for a Queen’s Award.

The Green Grass Centre’s Growing Together programme, which is on the Hagfold Estate in Atherton, gives residents who are out of work and looking to improve their chances of employment the opportunity to gain valuable life skills while giving something back to the community and working in the centre’s allotment.

The Queen’s Award, which was nominated by Wigan Council, recognises excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.

Centre manager Lynn Hayes said: “We never expected it.

“We are all extremely proud and the volunteers are so happy- it means a lot.”

The group will find out if they have won the accolade next June.

Lynn added: “Our growing together project is run by our gardening club.

"We have raised beds and a small allotment.

"Our volunteer gardeners have planted everything from beetroot to strawberries and chillies.

"They come in four times a week to look after the gardens and they are getting so much out of it.

“Our volunteers could be people who are out of work or who have been referred by the job centre and want to boost their chances of employment.

"When they start with us they are quiet but they really come out of their shell and now they love it.”

The project is also looking to embrace the Incredible Edible national scheme which aims to make nearby food accessible to all with volunteers encouraged to plant in communal areas such as grass verges, gardens, parks and schools and colleges.

For more information about the Green Grass Centre and to get involved contact Lynn Hayes at lynnhayes403@yahoo.co.uk.