A “neglected” and “unloved” garden that was transformed by a Penge community group has won a national award for innovation.

Winsford Gardens in Garden Road, Penge is one of 15 parks in the UK to win the award for bringing “outstanding benefits” to the site and the community.

The gardens, which were targeted by vandals in 2015, have been transformed by “resilient volunteers” from Penge Green Gym community group, also known as Friends of Winsford Gardens, who began work on the space in 2011.

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Brenda Little, chairwoman of the Penge Green Gym Community Group said: “We’re thrilled to learn that we’ve been recognised by this national scheme through their special award for Innovation.

“Here in Penge we’ve got a very resilient group of volunteers who really care about their local environment and turn-up each week, come rain or shine, to work in the gardens.

“Local residents who are increasingly using the gardens for recreational purposes are quick to complement us on the unstinting work we’re doing to transform the gardens.

“And now, to receive this national recognition for our work is really the icing on the cake!”

Some of the projects include turning a disused concrete pond system into a “vibrant bog garden”, to attract insects and amphibians, and raised beds with herbs and seasonal vegetables.

Councillor Colin Smith, executive councillor for environment said: “Our warmest congratulations go to Friends of Winsford Gardens not just for this recognition but as a shining example of what can be achieved by local people working together and caring about their local greenspace.

“The award is especially warming to everyone who has been there from the beginning and watched them grow, thrive and prosper over the years and now serves as an inspiration to every other budding Group.”

Visit the Penge Green Gym website for further information about the Friends of Winsford Gardens.