A Merthyr Tydfil community is looking cleaner and greener as the result of an exercise in good neighbourliness by its local McDonald's restaurant.
The green spaces around Cyfarthfa are neater and more colourful, the bus shelters are sparkling and a former area of wasteland will now be home to butterflies, bees, moths and beetles.
The transformation is the result of the annual McDonald’s Love Where You Live campaign in which the business runs a local community support project.
Staff from McDonald's outlets across South Wales joined Cyfarthfa Community Group in constructing and placing planters and flowers around Heolgerrig and Swansea Road to attract pollinators.
All the bus shelters were given a clean; the grass, hedgerows and trees near Kier Hardy Health Park pruned, and the area cleaned up.
“We partnered with them to complete an environmental project that would have a lasting impact both visually and on the biodiversity of the area,” said McDonald’s Operations Consultant Arlo Swinson.
“A total of 38 volunteers including our employees cleared a large patch of wasteland in preparation for planting wildflowers around the gateway to the town,” he added. “We built 12 wooden planters and furnished them with a range of flowers and installed them outside the bus shelters.
“All of the volunteers worked incredibly hard to make this a success. We’re all very proud of what we achieved and were overwhelmed by the support and kind words from local residents who saw us working throughout the day.”
Ward councillor and Cabinet Member for Regeneration Cllr Geraint Thomas, who took part in the event, said: “The bus shelters were rundown, dirty and overgrown.
“The planters look stunning, really brightening up the area. Members of the group and community have adopted the planters and will maintain them over the coming months and years, adding additional bulbs and flowers as the seasons change.”
Also present was Gill Hampson, the County Borough Council’s Biodiversity Officer. “Pollinators play a vital part in our ecosystem and many of the foods we eat would not be possible without the help of bees, butterflies, moths and beetles,” she said.
“With declining pollinator populations around the world, it’s more important than ever for us to protect and restore their habitats. Specific plants were chosen to help pollinators for their abundant source of pollen/nectar - as well as visual impact on people’s health and wellbeing.”
Other local businesses supported the project, including Jasonic Builders’ Merchants, B&Q, Wilko, AJS Landscapes of Cwmbran and Mary’s Garden Centre of Ebbw Vale.