VOLUNTEERS have laid the foundations for free fruit in one of the city’s most deprived areas after starting to plant more than 180 trees.
Residents, councillors and the Lord Mayor were among those who got involved with the project that started yesterday and will see 184 fruit trees and hedge plants find home in Somerstown.
The new orchard planting initiative will provide free fruit for local people as well as opportunities to learn about trees, hedges and growing food.
It links in with the Charles Dickens Trail, which started in Cornwallis Crescent Community Orchard last year, and is a walking route through Portsmouth, the city of his birth.
The pathway takes in 15 attractions linked to the great writer, including the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum, St Mary's Church and the Hard.
Cabinet member for Housing Councillor Darren Sanders, said: ‘It's amazing to see the success and progress that the Community Orchard Trail has achieved.
‘I am delighted to see the scheme expand to other areas in Portsmouth.’
Southsea Fire Station, young people from the Brooke Club, helpers from Friends of the Earth and Portsmouth and Southsea Tree Wardens took part in the planting as well who was Dennis David was lead resident on the project, which was made possible by Tree Council funding.
This week also makes National Tree Week and each year the Tree Council's member organisations, including 200 schools and community groups, support the initiative by setting up fun, worthwhile and accessible events, inspiring upward of a quarter of a million people to get their hands dirty and together plant trees.
Cllr Sanders added: ‘I would urge anyone to volunteer and get involved in the event to learn new skills and to pass on to others.
‘You could be part of a natural legacy that will be enjoyed by future generations.’
To help with future planting contact Trish Bell on 02392 841698.
No previous experience is required as local tree wardens and experienced volunteers will be on hand to assist.
To find out more, visit treecouncil.org.uk, or if you're interested in becoming a tree warden, visit portsmouthtree.org.uk.