Prince Consort Gardens volunteer launch first fundraising campaign to improve pond area
PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 July 2017
Volunteers who have spent the past five years improving a public garden in Weston-super-Mare are embarking on their biggest challenge yet, with the launch of a fundraising campaign.
The Friends of the Prince Consort Gardens look after the area of land overlooking Birnbeck Pier in Birnbeck Road, which includes a spot of grass, flowerbeds and a pond.
The group’s previous work has involved the restoration of a Victorian shelter and rebuilding the entrances to the garden.
Volunteers have now launched a fundraising campaign to restore the under-used boating pond so it becomes a haven for wildlife.
It is hoped this will also attract more families to the garden and children will visit for pond-dipping and other activities.
The Friends are aiming to raise £11,000 for the work, the first time they have asked for contributions to one of their garden projects.
Friends chairman Brian Wilkinson said: “This is the first time we have actually got costings and three quotes together for one of our projects.
“It is beyond our skill-set so we need to buy-in support.”
The aim is to turn the pond into a haven for wildlife by improving the planting and adding a pump.
It already attracts dragonflies and other insects, but the hope is it can also become a home for newts and frogs.
Mr Wilkinson said: “We clean the pond out every year, but one or two people use it, at most.
“About a year ago, someone dumped some fish in it and this increased the footfall as people went to look at them.
“We have seen just with the fish there are more children and families coming in, so we want to make it a more attractive space.”
The gardens were owned by the Smyth-Piggott family until about 130 years ago, when they were presented to the local authority.
The land is still owned by North Somerset Council, but it works alongside the Friends and has offered a £1,000 grant for the project.
Anyone who is interested in donating, or getting involved, can speak to one of the Friends in the gardens on Saturday mornings, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the bank details.