A COMMUNITY garden project began to blossom on Monday when work started on revitalising the site.
Southwick’s Croft Avenue Rest Garden is being given a new lease of life thanks to local residents and their supporters.
The £15,000 improvement project will make the garden more attractive and colourful, while maintaining its history.
It is being led by the Southwick Square Gardens Project team and Adur Council.
The aim is to open up the area so shoppers, visitors and residents will be able to enjoy the gardens as a place to sit and relax, walk through and enjoy, and have a picnic or lunch.
Chairman of Southwick Square Gardens Project, John Colwill, said it was great that work was starting on Monday.
“When we first met, the site was dirty, untidy and a focus for anti-social behaviour,” he said.
“With help from the police and the council, we have been able to tidy it up but now we need to make the significant improvements that this project will bring about.
“It will be a real community effort, with everyone doing their bit to create a garden we can all use, enjoy and be proud of.”
The work, which is expected to be completed by the end of spring, will create a second entrance, a pathway and flower beds, manage existing trees, plant new shrubs and bulbs, and re-seed grassed areas.
Funding for the work is coming from The Veolia Environmental Trust, who have awarded £12,850 through the Landfill Communities Fund, Adur Council, the Southwick Society and Grove Lodge Vets.
During the planning stage, the garden project held meetings with residents, parks staff and councillors and everyone agreed the gardens looked untidy and could do with some major improvements.
The police, students at Shoreham Academy and local businesses supported the scheme.
A diamond jubilee garden party attended by more than 100 people was held in the gardens to launch the project.
Executive director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, said he was pleased the project was getting underway.
“It will revitalise an important green corner of Southwick, benefiting people of all ages and backgrounds,” he said.
“I look forward to seeing the improved garden being enjoyed by all.”
The Southwick Square Gardens Project team said it aimed to improve the area where its members lived and to reinstate Croft Avenue Rest Gardens into an inviting open garden that was attractive and freely available for the local community to enjoy.
The Landfill Communities Fund uses some of the money earned through landfill tax to support community and environmental projects near landfill sites.
Since 1996, more than £1 billion has been spent on more than 32,000 projects across the UK.
The Veolia Environmental Trust has been backing community and environmental projects for more than 16 years.
The kinds of projects the trust supports include repairing woodland footpaths, renovating community halls and building playgrounds and play areas.