A group of people wearing hi-vis jackets, working in a community garden

SNG supports launch of new community garden in South Ham

Residents of the South Ham area of Basingstoke have worked together with local housing association, SNG, to transform a previously overgrown communal area into a nature hub.

The Burnaby Bees gardening project aims to improve neglected green spaces outside the Burnaby Close shops and encourage local people to learn and share gardening skills. The goal of the project is to nurture local people's wellbeing through nature therapy and community connection.

Over the Spring, local people in South Ham were given a series of options for a garden design for the area. Over 100 votes were cast with the winning design offering an unrefined, soft, and fluffy space, centred around offering pollinators like bees and butterflies to opportunity to rest and revive. It also includes a home fit for a small hedgehog, nestled amongst frothy grasses, and colourful blooms.

The green spaces around the shops had become overgrown and a blackspot for litter and fly-tipping. The land was also inaccessible by metal railings, making maintenance impossible. Feedback from Community Walkabouts hosted by the South Ham Community Action Group (SHCAG) and listening events held by SNG in 2023 made it clear that improving the space around the shops was a priority for the community.

Stevie Chadwick, Community Investment Lead at SNG said: “The community has been so enthusiastic we were thrilled to play our part in offering a foundation so that we could come together to build this amazing garden that will help people living in South Ham thrive over generations.

“This great new garden design was developed with the local community as we listened to our customers vision of how the garden should look in terms of design, colours, textures and types of plants and flowers they wanted to see. I’d also like to thank the excellent support we’ve had from the Beardy Gardner and his outstanding level of expertise.”

Thanks to Starbucks and the Hubbub Foundation's Access to Nature Fund, Burnaby Bees is now one of 100 nature hubs across Britain securing £6,000 in external funding to work with the community to improve these green spaces. SNG has been working in partnership with Safer Communities Fund and the award-winning local garden designer Leigh Johnstone, known as The Beardy Gardener, to support with delivering this project.

The project has also received additional funding from the Safer Streets Fund to further look at improving the area around the Burnaby Close shops.