Fountain has ‘incredible’ transformation into growing space as community gardening project launched in Hilsea

A DISUSED fountain is finding new life as a community gardening project is launched in Hilsea.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 5:06 pm

Located next to Hilsea Lido, the fountain is being transformed into a glorious garden and outdoor space for local people to put their green fingers to work.

The project was initially developed for the residents of Southdown View, a Vivid Homes flat complex, but is open to any adults who would like to take part.

Developed by Vivid Homes along with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the project aims to provide outdoor activities and develop community spirit.

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Maria Bunce at Hilsea Lido. Picture: Andy Hornby
Maria Bunce at Hilsea Lido. Picture: Andy Hornby

All are welcome to come along and help wildlife flourish by growing plants, vegetables, or herbs, or to sit, chat, and bring along a picnic.

Andy Ames, Wilder Communities project officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, co-ordinates the Wilder Portsmouth project.

He said: ‘We look for spaces around the city where there’s an opportunity to plant - it’s good for the people involved and for the wildlife.

‘We’re hoping to connect the city with these little green spaces.’

Pictured: Sue Lindon, Sally Gilbert, Paul Smith, Maria Bunce, Kevin Gilbert, Jan Waterman. Picture: Andy Hornby

The gardening project, part of Wilder Portsmouth, was launched last Thursday when work to reclaim the fountain as a large growing site commenced.

Janice Waterman, community development and digital officer for Vivid Homes, said: ‘We’ve had our first day of planting, where we’ve started to plant the fountain.

‘It's a wellbeing thing, getting people together to talk and get out and about to get involved with nature.

‘People can plant whatever they’d like - vegetables, herbs, wildflowers - and anybody in the community can come along.’

Pictured: Sue Lindon, Sally Gilbert, Paul Smith, Maria Bunce, Kevin Gilbert, Jan Waterman at Hilsea Lido. Picture: Andy Hornby

Andy worked closely with Vivid Homes to launch this new project.

He said: ‘We talked about the block of flats nearby where people have been covered over for lockdown, so I linked in with lido to see if we could adopt this space.

‘It helps residents get outside, connect with each other and nature. It’s a very friendly atmosphere and it could be a social space for people to meet.

‘The transformation is incredible, it looks so much better now. It was so nice to get some nice planting in.’

Jan Waterman at Hilsea Lido. Picture: Andy Hornby

The adult gardening sessions will take place every Thursday from 10am to 1.30pm at the back of Hilsea Lido.