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

Located next to Hilsea Lido, the fountain is being transformed into a beautiful garden and outdoor space where locals can put their green fingers to work.

The project was originally developed for residents of Southdown View, a Vivid Homes apartment complex, but is open to all adults who wish to participate.

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

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Maria Bunce at the Hilsea Lido. Photo: Andy Hornby

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

Andy Ames, Wilder Communities Project Manager for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, coordinates the Wilder Portsmouth project.

He said: “We are looking for spaces around town where there is an opportunity to plant – it’s good for the people involved and good for the wildlife.

“We hope to connect the city with these small green spaces.”

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

The gardening project, part of Wilder Portsmouth, was launched last Thursday when work began to salvage the fountain as a large cultivation site.

Janice Waterman, Community and Digital Development Manager for Vivid Homes, said: “We had our first planting day, where we started planting the fountain.

“It’s about wellness, bringing people together to talk and get out there and get involved in nature.

“People can plant whatever they want – vegetables, herbs, wildflowers – and anyone in the community can come.”

Pictured: Sue Lindon, Sally Gilbert, Paul Smith, Maria Bunce, Kevin Gilbert, Jan Waterman at Hilsea Lido. Photo: 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 for lockdown so I connected with the lido to see if we could adopt that space.

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

‘The transformation is amazing, it looks so much better now. It was so nice to have beautiful plantings.

Jan Waterman at the Hilsea Lido. Photo: Andy Hornby

Gardening sessions for adults will take place every Thursday from 10am to 1.30pm at the back of the Hilsea Lido.