We Can Do It - we did it and continue to do so....

The 'Friends of Leesland Park' were formed in March 1998 following a series of public meetings to determine the future of the former Moreland Road allotment site which had become overgrown, unloved and a potential fire risk. Public opinion at this time was in favour of a community park with the parks name chosen by those who attended the public meetings.
 
In 2003 The Friends of Leesland Park were nominated by Councillor Peter Chegwyn (Leesland Ward) for an award in the Portsmouth News 'We Can Do It' campaign.To our surprise and obvious delight we won the 'Taking Care of the Environment Award' which our then Vice Chair, Philip Sandall collected from Fred Dineage at the Portsmouth Guildhall awards ceremony. The elegant glass award can be viewed behind the bar in the lounge of the Gipsy Queen PH, Gosport.
 
In the interval since 1998, and the formation of the 'Friends' group, the park has undergone some quite considerable development utilising the skills and time of both professional and volunteer alike. The group's objective has always been to develop the park in a way that provides something for everyone within our community and the level of public feedback would suggest we are getting this right. Examples of this thinking include open grassland that encourages opportunities for free play, dog walking and gentle exercise and the installation and continued development of Gosport's first and we think best skatepark. Originality and community involvement play a very important part in our creative thinking, examples of this include the 'fort' in the children's play area - can you spot where the design idea came from? Wooden totem pole markers in the sensory garden and Ruth's Trail in the Orchard.
 
The park's development and recognition of the work carried out on the site was again recognised in 2010 when Gosport Borough Council entered the park in the South and South East in Bloom Competition. We were delighted to subsequently hear that we had won a Bronze award in the large park category and a Developing Award from the Royal Horticultural Society. The awards presented by Fred Dineage at a presentation evening in Thorngate Halls and collected by our secretary. The plaques to be displayed for all to see in the Lounge Bar of the Gipsy Queen P.H.

In the 2011 awards, the park received an improved silver award in the park of the year category while the Friends secured their second RHS Developing Award. Both awards presented to the volunteers at the local Gosport In Bloom awards evening which once again featured Fred Dineage.

Bringing the strory up to date, at the 2012 South and South East in Bloom awards (held in the Fernham Hall, Fareham) the Friends moved up a notch gaining an RHS Thriving award. This despite our judging day resembling something akin to the great 'deluge'. 2014 saw us once again with a 'Thriving' recommendation which is perhaps the highest we can aspire to within the scheme.