Carlisle has come together in kindness this week. Give a Day to the City has seen hundreds of people volunteering on more than 40 projects for a range of good causes.

These include litter picks, decorating a classroom and giving treats to people in care homes.

Give a Day was the brainchild of Andy Fearon, a pastor with the Denton Holme-based Carlisle Vineyard Church. This is its fourth year.

The transformation of Portland Square gardens in the city centre was among the most visible projects. On Wednesday lunchtime more than 20 people were painting its railings, and weeding and planting in its flowerbeds.

“We’ve got an amazing city,” said Andy. “A lot of people have said ‘You’ve taken on too much.’ Carlisle has responded. They’ve done amazingly. The whole city has come together.”

In Portland Square gardens, litter has been picked and overgrown paths tidied. Old paint has been blasted off the railings. Those applying a new coat - she had specks of black paint on her face to prove it - included Emma Sherlock, chief operating officer of Stan Sherlock Associates.

Emma said: “I’ve never painted a railing in my life. We’re a financial services company. We sit at a desk all day. I didn’t know how everyone would respond to manual labour! They say they’re loving it. I think they’re happy to make a difference. And it’s good team-building. This park has had a shady reputation. But it’s lovely. We could walk down from our office and have lunch here.”

Niki Iveson, Asda Carlisle’s community champion, said: “I’ve been involved with Give a Day for three years. The first thing I did was the skate park, then last year Eden Valley Hospice. Give a Day is full of fantastic projects. There’s so much you can do, whatever your skills.

“You meet people from different businesses that come down. You do get the feeling of everybody working together.”

Peter Stafford, Cartmell Shepherd’s managing director, is another Give a Day veteran. In previous years he has worked on projects including Tullie House’s ‘secret garden’ and landscaping at Eden Valley Hospice.

At Portland Square he was tidying one of the large flowerbeds. “It was completely overgrown this morning,” he said. “I like getting out and I like gardening. Andy is inspirational. He promised me a flame-thrower though! It hasn’t materialised yet.

“Councils are short of money these days so this sort of thing is not a priority. We love it. It’s giving something back.”

Peter was working alongside Lito Angelaki, a conservator with the Fine Art Restoration Company. “This is the first time I’ve been involved,” she said. “It’s relaxation for me. I do restoring and stuff like that, sitting in a chair. This is quite different. It’s a bit like mindfulness.

“I think Give a Day is amazing. I’m from Greece originally. We don’t have anything like this. It shows a really strong sense of community. Citizens looking after things so they can enjoy them.”

Colette McQueen, a motivational speaker and life coach with Bespoke Minds, said: “This really gives people a sense of community and purpose, and connection with others.”