NUMBERS of people using Southwick Square Garden have dramatically increased since improvements were completed earlier this year.
Residents who helped get the project off the ground gathered in the garden, on the corner of Croft Avenue and Southwick Street, Southwick, last Saturday to show their appreciation for those behind the renovation.
Stuart Colwill, chairman of the Southwick Square Gardens Project, said the gardens, previously known as Croft Avenue Rest Gardens, had been given a new lease of life.
“After many years of neglect, a grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust enabled an extra entrance to be built, which has greatly increased the number of people using the garden,” he explained.
“The grant, along with money from Grove Lodge Vets and the Southwick Society, has also paid for new flower beds to be laid.”
Andy Edwards, Adur and Worthing councils’ parks manager, gave a speech to explain the works and thank those involved.
Adur district councillor Jim Funnell was also in attendance, along with the various residents who got the ball rolling back in 2011.
The new community garden offers a place for young and old to sit and relax, walk through and enjoy, and have a picnic or lunch.
The improvement project included a new entrance in the west wall and linking pathway, costing nearly £10,000, which were designed to make the garden more easily accessible for Southwick Square shoppers.
Adur Council owns the land and it contributed £1,650 towards the overall costs.
The Veolia Environmental Trust gave a grant of £12,850, the Southwick Society agreed a small grant and local businesses were supportive, with Grove Lodge Vets, the business nearest to the gardens, offering a grant.
Previously, the site had been neglected and was a focus for anti-social behaviour in the town.
The police and students at Shoreham Academy also supported the scheme to tidy it up and make it more family friendly, bringing the gardens back to their former beauty and to encourage the local community to visit and enjoy them on a regular basis.
A council spokesman said it was ‘extremely pleasing’ to see the benefits for all residents after several years of effort by the group.