DAY two of the York Cares Big Community Challenge saw volunteers working to transform gardens at two York care homes.

The Challenge is all about lots of volunteers from local businesses coming together for three days to help make a difference to the community.

Helen Illman, programme co-ordinator at York Cares, said: "This year we're being ambitious and have over 150 volunteers working at six sites over three days."

The three days are loosely themed. Day one was about helping out at schools, day two involved working at dementia care homes, and day three's theme is parks and green spaces.

On the first day volunteers gave a helping hand to school sites in Osbaldwick and St Paul's.

Volunteers from Aviva and Lendlease spent three hours clearing a large very overgrown area to the side of Osbaldwick Primary School. The site has now been transformed to reveal old pathways, a shed and even a pond. The school are keen to now develop this into a 'forest school' area for the children.

At St Paul's Primary staff from University of York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Partners PR and Yorkshire Bank spent the day rejuvenating the playground. They worked with parents to cut back overgrown vegetation, paint the benches in bright colours, weed the play area and put in new plants.

Simon Addison, from Yorkshire Bank, said: "It has been great to work alongside my colleagues, getting to see them in a different environment and using a different skills set, as well as working with other companies."

On day two, staff from Benenden Health and Tesco worked in the garden at Windsor House care home, and staff from Omnicom Engineering and City of York Council worked in the garden at Morrell House.

Helen Illman said: "Both teams were sprucing up the outdoor spaces at the homes, including weeding, painting benches and planting sensory plants for the residents.

"The autumn sunshine was perfect for gardening."