New scheme sees Gosport residents get hands dirty

MAKEOVER Debbie Dawkins, community project officer from Groundwork Solent and  volunteers Mark Hayden, 19, from East Street in Fareham and  Paul Brand, 45 from Avery Lane in Rowner
MAKEOVER Debbie Dawkins, community project officer from Groundwork Solent and volunteers Mark Hayden, 19, from East Street in Fareham and Paul Brand, 45 from Avery Lane in Rowner

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POTS, plants, community spirit and a trowel.

That’s all it took for volunteers and residents to make over the garden at the entrance to the Nimrod Community Centre in Rowner, Gosport.

Two staff from Groundwork Solent and plenty from the soon-to-open Tesco store on the estate partnered up with local residents to get to work and launch a new scheme.

As reported, The Rowner Community Trust and Groundwork Solent have won funding to train up around 20 residents in horticultural work.

The scheme aims to both skill people on the deprived estate while also ensuring its green spaces remain well-kept and pruned.

Debbie Dawkins, a community project officer at Groundwork Solent, said the team hoped to add a splash of colour to the garden.

She said: ‘We’re doing a mini-makeover of this garden space because it’s not been loved for some time.

‘We’re adding some herbs, a nice scent for when people walk through, along with hanging baskets and giving it a bit of a refresh to make it more appealing.

‘We’re hoping people will come in and use the site.

‘The idea is that local people come and do this and get involved with projects that will see spaces where they live improved.’

After the session on Friday, Debbie is now keen to recruit around 20 dedicated volunteers who will receive training, and useful skills for any future employment.

In turn they will support others in the area to teach others in the area.

Volunteering stalwart Paul Brand, 45, from Avery Lane in Forton put down his trowel to speak to The News.

He also works for Shaw Trust, which helps disadvantaged and disabled people into work and independent life.

He said: ‘I like this job, and I like the Shaw Trust job connected to this. I like meeting people I’ve never seen before. I like helping taking the bits of grass out – it’s good to get dirty.’

Paul added that he likes to see the beautiful results of his hard work.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer should call Debbie on (023) 9233 8550 or email debbie.dawkins@groundwork.org.uk