GALLERY: Community comes together to make Skegness gardens bloom

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect when the community came together to make historic gardens in Skegness bloom.

In glorious sunshine and armed with trowels, around 50 volunteers began the planting of a new sensory gardens area around the bandstand in Tower Gardens.

Mayor of Skegness Coun Pete Barry opened the event, welcoming and thanking everyone for attending before he then started the planting and was eagerly joined by everyone.

It was all part of Skegness Town Council’s first phase of the Tower Gardens Masterplan which sees the refurbishment of the pond, replacement of surrounding paths and creation of a sensory area around the bandstand.

Improvements to Tower Gardens are amongst 13 projects included in £48 million worth of Town Deals linking Mablethorpe and Skegness.

The restoration of the gardens is funded by the Connected Coast Board and is part of the Heritage Lincolnshire Town Centre Transformation.

Works are being carried out by GF Tomlinsons and the designs which were on show in Cafe Dansant have been created by Influence

Town clerk Steve Larner was delighted with the turnout. “We have been planning the event for some while and have been really lucky to get warm sunshine and plenty of people turn out to help.

"The sensory garden where we are doing the planting is around the bandstand near the Tower Gardens Pavilion.

"The planting as it grows will form a real sensory feature so people of all abilities and needs can experience the gardens.

"We’ve also got some musical instruments in there – a tressel type device that sits in the ground, which wheelchair users can also use, creates a whistle sound and some metal flowers produce a Caribbean sound.

"They are already being played with so I think they will be very popular.”

Craig Stopper of GF Tomlinsons said it was great to be back in Tower Gardens having been involved in the building of the Tower Gardens Pavilion.

"I remember coming here in 2018 when the old pavilion building was just standing in the background,” he said.

"Having worked on the pavilion it’s nice seeing the gardens now taking shape.”

Heritage Project Manager for Heritage Lincolnshire Isabelle Richards was there to support the day and spread the word about funding opportunities still available in the town centre with regards to shop front improvements.

"It’s very exciting seeing the community getting involved with the changes taking place,” she said. “It’s been very important for us to also hold onto the heritage of the site – that has been part of our vision.”

The public will have a chance to enjoy this first phase of planting over Easter. Two-year-old Karanna Stacey couldn’t wait though.

After helping with the planting she was one of the first to play a tune on the musical sunflower. Mum Sally Powell said: “My partner has ben working on the pond so we thought we’d come and help today by plating flowers.

"It’s all looking a lot better than it was. We probably wouldn’t have come before but will now, especially with the new equipment going in.”

Already Skegness Town Council is exploring how to access some of the new Long Term Plan for Towns funding that is just becoming available to complete the vision they have as quickly as possible to preserve the gardens for the next 25 years.

"We can meet the three main requirements of the funding but need the support of the community to show grant funders how important Tower Gardens is to the people of Skegness,” said Mr Larner.

"Tower Gardens really is an oasis for Skegness residents. It’s a place which connects the Town Centre to the Foreshore but where everyone can come to escape the hubbub of the Town.

"The gardens provide a valuable space for community events which helps bring people together.

"We still have plenty of work to do to get the gardens ready for everyone to enjoy and ensure that it is fully accessible for future generations. To do this requires funding that the Town Council simply doesn’t have.”

How you can support the project will be announced soon. In the meantime anouther shout for everyone involved today’s planting, including GF Tomlinsons (Builders), Gleeds (construction/project consultants), Influence (Landscape Architects). SCAPE (Framework managers). Couns Trevor Burnham and Sue Royal, Members of the Connected Coast Board, County Care, Algitha Road Day Centre, Skegness Town Council employees, McDonalds staff and Destination Lincolnshire, plus members of the public.