Realising a community's environmental dream

A STUDY centre is to be opened at a picturesque community pond.

Friday, 28th April 2017, 6:06 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:54 pm
Baffins Pond, where an environmental study centre will open tomorrow. Inset, George Benham, the late founder of the Baffins Pond Association.

Members of the Baffins Pond Association (BPA), in Portsmouth, will finally realise a long-held dream tomorrow when the Benham-Rew Environmental Study Centre is opened by the Lord Mayor.

It is named after two prominent members of the community.

Steve Williams, chairman of the BPA, said: ‘Our association was founded in the mid 1990s by the late George Benham, who lived opposite Baffins Pond.

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‘At the time the area was in a sorry state and George decided something had to be done about.

‘He got people interested and asked Portsmouth City Council for the use of the old Baffins sewage lifting station buildings.

‘He was granted this, and so started the organisation we have today.

‘The buildings are now a hall which is to be opened and used as an environmental study centre, and we also have a very well- attended community garden with a small shop where we sell refreshments.

‘We also sell plants and flowers grown by our volunteer gardeners in the community garden’.

The Benham-Rew Environmental Study Centre is also named after Dave Rew, the area’s community warden who died last year.

Mr Williams added: ‘It was his dream to emulate George’s in the opening of the study centre.

‘The aim of the study centre is to hold sessions in learning about wildlife and environmental issues for school groups and others who may be interested.’

All those who work for the association are unpaid volunteers. They run events throughout the year to fund the hall and study centre.

These include litter picks, Easter egg hunts, teddy bears picnics and the George Benham Memorial Conker Bash.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller, will officially open the study centre tomorrow at 11am. Opening hours will be from midday to 4pm on Saturdays. For details go to