When the MAFIA arrive in town it’s not usually a cause for celebration.
But when MAFIA is an acronym for Mereside And Friends In Action, something good is sure to follow.
The community group formed just four months ago and has already raised tens of thousands of pounds to improve the estate.
This week they embarked on their latest project clearing wasteland near Bowness Avenue to prepare it for the planting of 150 fruit trees next months.
They were helped out by staff from bookmakers William Hill, who carried out the work to celebrate International Community Week.
MAFIA are also shortly to begin work on a nearby disused bowling green which adjoins the land.
We want to make sure there is something for older children
That plot will be turned into a community garden for all ages.
MAFIA chairwoman Sarah Threlfall said: “I’ve lived on the estate for about 30 years and over the years you notice things that could do with a clean-up or patches of land we could develop for the community.
“We set upthe group last November and, to date, have collected £53,000 in donations and grants to be used on community projects.
“We have held Christmas parties for children and two Valentine’s Day events as well as money in grants from the council and Lottery fund.”
Mrs Threlfall, 51, who is a mum-of-eight and works for William Hill, decided to start fund-raising so that a playground could be provided for older children on Mereside.
She said: “The existing play area is only for children aged up to four. We want to make sure there is something for the older children, and the adults.
“Our next big job is the tree planting next month but we have plenty of other plans under consideration.”