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Welcome to the Friends of Portswood Rec.



The Friends of Portswood Rec is a group of local people who would like to see better maintenance and improved facilities at Portswood Rec in Southampton. Come to a meeting, the Friends of Portswood Rec hold regular local meetings, usually on the last Thursday of the month, and welcome anyone who shares their aims and is interested in making a difference at the Rec.


Please visit here for how to join...


Our video gives an overview of Portswood Rec and our group:



Urgent Update - We need your help! Please donate if you can

Based on the results of our survey, we now have estimated costs for new equipment for the play area to replace the items that had to be removed for safety.


Unfortunately the Council cannot help financially at the moment, so we need to raise around £70,000. We are applying for grant funding, but for some funders we need to show we already have 10% of the project cost before we can apply. We are therefore URGENTLY looking to raise this 10% through grants and donations. We've set up a Just Giving page which gives more details of the equipment we'd like to get based on the results of our recent survey, and are asking people to donate what they can to help us reach the 10% target we need to apply for the grants.


We know times are tough and it's a lot of money, but any help you can give would be greatly appreciated, and every penny you can give will be spent on Portswood Rec

Please help if you can by clicking the button to donate. Thank you


2023 There have been some ups and downs this year. On the plus side we are celebrating the Rec having retained its prestigious Green Flag for a third year.  We organised a display at Portswood Library to showcase the work we have done to help pollinators at the Rec and try and gave away free seeds to encourage others to take action in their own spaces. On the back of this we thrilled to be one of only 25 individuals or groups to be recognised with a Bees Needs Community Champions Award, and were chuffed that in publicising their awards, DEFRA used a photo of our library display in their promotional material! 

Given the limited number of these awards granted nationally each year, to have received it twice, and in consecutive years is truly amazing and a fantastic testament to our loyal and dedicated volunteer gardeners. Our gardeners meet regularly, usually on Sunday mornings from 10am. If you'd like to get involved and join them, please complete and submit the contact form for more details.

 We held a Portswood Pirate community event in June, where we were joined by the Mayor and to make sure everyone felt welcome. We were pleased to be able to make all activities free of charge and despite the soggy weather we had a great turnout.




On the downside we learned that some of the equipment in the play area had failed a safety inspection and had to be removed. Unfortunately both of the large play structures for slightly older children have now been taken away and we are working with the Council to look at ways to get the equipment replaced. This will likely involve a lot of community effort, so watch this space to see how you could be involved!


2022 We were delighted to hear in April that we were one of only 21 groups nationally to be recognised with the Bees Needs Champion Award in the Loacal Authority and Community category. The award letter commented on the calibre of our application and the exceptional work that has been done for pollinators at the Rec. We were also delighted to hear that the continued hard work had paid off and the Green Flag was awarded for a second year. In March we took part in the Keep Britain Tidy Big Spring Clean with a community litter pick at the Rec. We were also successful in receiving a grant to obtain secure storage for our gardening tools close to the Rec making it easier for our volunteers.

Working with the community payback team, a second meadow area was created alongside the steps to Brickfield Road. This part of the Rec is very steep and had previously just been left attracting litter. Unfortunately the very hot dry summer followed by prolonged cold periods in the winter made this difficult to get established, but our fantastic gardeners organised a watering rota using cans when the hosepipe ban was introduced!


2021 Has started well. We heard in January that 

 Bug Hotelthe group had been successful in securing a grant to increase the biodiversity at the Rec. Alongside installing a bug hotel and nesting boxes, we will be planting up more areas with wildlife friendly plants, and creating a wildflower meadow. Unfortunately the ongoing Covid measures have restricted our activities and we've been unable to hold our regular meetings. A planned event at the Rec had to be cancelled because of the ongoing uncertainties around changing restrictions being imposed. Despite this our loyal band of gardeners took every available opportunity to garden and work on improving biodiversity at the Rec. Log piles were built, 1000 snowdrops were planted alongside cornfield annuals and a small moth garden was created filled with plants our volunteers had grown from seed. Good news was that by the end of the year there were signs that our bug hotel was hosting its first guests! We planted 1000 crocus corms which were donated by the Rotary Club as part of their Purple 4 Polio campaign.

We also took the opportunity to get our admin in order, working with the council to update the Management Plan for the Rec, setting out plans until 2025, and we created this new website. The group was featured on BBC South Today for activities we arranged for the Greening the City event to mark COP 26 which was held in Glasgow.

The biggest reward though came in October when the group heard that the Rec had been succesful in obtaining a prestigious Green Flag Award awarde by Keep Britain Tidy. This was a fantastic result for all our hard working volunteers.

select the image to enlarge

2020 Our activities have been badly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic which has seen social distancing measures introduced across the country. We had to postpone our AGM so a new page has been created on this website with details and information that would normally have been presented at the AGM. Undaunted, the gardeners continued working at the Rec whenever the restrictions allowed, clearing and replanting a bed close to the tennis courts.

For earlier years activities, please select the Background tab in the About Us section






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Friends of Portswood Rec, Southampton, UK





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