This week has seen the launch of a brand new community project in Portsmouth hoping to stimulate urban regeneration through both art and sport.
Co-founded by Portsmouth’s own Basketball clothing brand Chain Net Apparel and local Social Enterprise organisation Form + Function, the plan is to work on several identified areas in the city which could benefit greatly from revitalisation.
The first project being developed is Orchard Park on Goldsmith Avenue, a popular (but neglected) basketball court with phase one of the plan to fully resurface the court whilst also adding space for art, planters with seating and an additional park entrance. Phase two will ultimately see the creation of an art led community hub permanently based in the area, alongside a Community Artwork Wall transforming the area around Fratton Station’s Goldsmith Avenue entrance.
With backing from Network Rail, Victorious Festival and Portsmouth City Council the team have also taken to Crowdfunder in an attempt to raise extra funds and get the local community actively involved.
Rewards available to backers include everything from limited edition basketballs to collab t-shirts as well as some planned extra special funding incentives being announced over the next five weeks. The first of these is a chance to purchase an incredible Victorious Festival based package which includes tickets for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children) with campervan – Premium Upgrade with dedicated site entrance (Gate P), access to an undercover viewing platform for The Common Stage, access to the premium enclosure with an exclusive bar, toilets & food traders plus (as an added Orchard Park Project fundraising special) – a guided backstage tour for the whole family.
The project aims to deliver cohesive and wide-reaching benefits to the community, and so will be funded and completed in two phases:
Full Macadam resurfacing of Basketball Court + BB Timeline + Planters with Seating + Additional Park Entrance
The Orchard Park BB court is the ONLY court in Portsmouth to specifically cater for 3×3 basketball play. This style of game is simple, flexible and currently ranked the number one urban team sport in the world. It will also be showcased at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Basketball England are promoting this particular style of play and have been campaigning to improve outdoor facilities across the UK. They are also supporting the Orchard Park Project Crowdfunder with a special, limited edition run of Chain Net Apparel x BBE x artist tees, and 40 #ProjectSwish basketballs.
While celebrating Portsmouth’s BB heritage, our project will also increase user safety within the park by cleaning up and bringing activity to darker, under-accessed corners. The current entrance to the park is only from the Orchard Road side, and Portsmouth City Council are kindly looking into installing an additional pedestrian access gate on the Goldsmith Avenue side – next to the pedestrian crossing. This additional entrance point will encourage fuller use of the whole park and bring safe activity to areas currently attracting anti-social behaviour.
- BB court complete re-surfacing with sports industry standard Macadam tarmac
- New line mark painting, new court fencing, new backboards and fixed equipment repair
- Portsmouth’s BB Heritage Timeline design and installation on site next to court
- Tidy existing flower beds and relocate plants/shrubbery to new freestanding planters – designed by Portsmouth’s own Garden Angels – to help with ongoing maintenance and provide integrated spectator seating to watch the courts from
- New pedestrian entrance on Goldsmith Ave side (next to zebra crossing) to increase access and tackle anti-social behaviour in currently under-used areas of the park
Estimated start date: June 2021
Estimated completion date: July 2021
Creating a Sports Hub + Community Relationship Building + Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour
With Phase 1 complete we’ll be swiftly moving into Orchard Park: Phase 2. This will see us build on our regeneration of the BB court and its immediate surrounding area, by leasing a slither of adjoining land from Byng’s Autos and creating a permanent on-site sports hub.
This is a key aspect of our on-going vision for the area for a number of reasons:
- To create meaningful and lasting relationships with the communities which use the park, and have a base to encourage new ones to get involved
- To have a visible, physical presence and demonstrate positive activity; proven to tackle antisocial behaviour (which the park currently suffers badly from)
- To allow Chain Net Apparel to run coaching sessions, store equipment and host tournaments/events and visitors to the city
For safe (and simple) access from the sports hub to the park we’ll be knocking a hole through the wall bordering the BB court and installing a gate.
For much more detailed information and details on how you can donate to the project, go to https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/orchard-park-project.