A FRIENDS group responsible for transforming a patch of wasteland into a rural beauty spot has been given a cash grant.

The Friends of Chapel Wood has been named one of Skipton Building Society’s ‘Big 160’, securing a slot as a winner in its Grassroots Giving initative after winning the hearts and minds of the public.

The scheme triumphed over almost 1,000 other applicants across the country.

After being shortlisted in the campaign, the group’s application was then in the hands of a public vote to determine if it was to win £500 in funding.

The Pickup Bank group’s story was shared nationally online and the group secured a big enough proportion of the 20,000 votes received to be crowned a winner.

The wood sits between Long Hey Lane and the track that runs down the side of the Old Chapel in Pickup Bank.

The cash will help the group, which consists of 10 volunteers, to continue its work maintaining and improving the area.

Robert McKee, a volunteer of the group, said: “The volunteers deserve to have their efforts recognised.

“They have shown their commitment to the whole community since 2008 by giving their time and expertise freely. I know everyone in the group is delighted with this funding.

“It is donations like this that mean we can bring new ideas to life.”

David Cutter, Skipton’s group chief executive, said: “It is these kind of groups that make communities and neighbourhoods stronger, especially in difficult economic times, and we are delighted to have been able to showcase some of the unsung heroes across the UK.”