WORKERS from Wallington have helped to create an indoor haven at a major regional shopping centre.
For the next few weeks, the National Trust has taken over a shop in the Metrocentre to showcase the variety of spectacular coast and countryside in its care across the North East.
This follows a survey of shoppers in the Gateshead complex which revealed that more than a third of those questioned had not visited a countryside site in the last 12 months.
There are separate zones in the unit to demonstrate the different outdoor places in the trust’s care, with hands-on activities and taster experiences such as pond dipping, bird box making and planting sessions delivered by its staff each week.
On the opening day of the programme, Wallington-based rangers Becky Hetherington and Tom Garwood helped Matthew Adams, four, from Tynemouth to make a bird box.
His dad Peter said: “It certainly opened my eyes to the huge range of activities and opportunities that the National Trust offers beyond big country houses.”
The National Trust hopes that by showcasing some of what it has to offer, it will inspire shoppers to plan a day out in the countryside and build a greater understanding of the work undertaken by the organisation.
Regional Director for the North East and Yorkshire Janet Bibby said: “Places like Cragside and Wallington have stunning houses, but they also have woodland, gardens, lakeside walks and miles of pathways that can quite easily be enjoyed on foot.”
Two-for-one vouchers to visit its venues will also be handed out at the unit daily.
l Visitors can celebrate local heroes and heroines, past and present, at Wallington this weekend.
Families can hunt for heroes, ranging from Lord Collingwood and Grace Darling to the modern-day emergency services and armed forces, on a special trail, make a medal to give to their hero and create a hero mask, among other activities.
The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 4pm.
On Monday, families can take along their favourite teddy bear for a picnic.
Children can also go on a trail and a Teddy Toddle down into the woods, have a go at bear-themed arts and craft activities and enter a best-dressed bear competition.
This will also be held from 11am to 4pm. For both events, normal admission charges apply.
For more information about them telephone 01670 773600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org