SOUTHAMPTON residents answered the call to mark the coronation of King Charles by taking part in the Big Help Out.
Families supported a raft of community events held to inspire more people to carry out unpaid work and ease the national shortage of volunteers.
The Big Help Out aimed to ensure the crowning of King Charles and Queen Camilla created a lasting legacy.
Chris McWilliams and Hilde Gronsberg at the Big Help Out event at St James Park, Southampton. (Image: Newsquest.)
Unfortunately, the unseasonal weather mirrored the dismal conditions that occurred during the coronation itself, resulting in scaled-down events.
Southampton sites that took part in the Big Help Out included St James Park, which comprises play and activity areas next to a large expanse of grass.
Members of the Friends of St James Park group were joined by staff from the Southampton and Totton branches of Asda.
Organiser Hilde Gronsberg said: “We were planning a massive picnic with a tea tent and quizzes, but the great British weather said ‘no’.
“We jumped on Plan B and shrank it down to the most important thing, which was of course the litter-pick.”
Big Help Out event in St James Park, Southampton. (Image: Newsquest.)
Asda employee Chris McWilliams added: “The rubbish situation is absolutely shocking.
“We’ve found cans and plastic, which is really concerning because of the wildlife. We’ve also come across broken glass, which is bad for the birds and everything else.
“Unfortunately the weather has not been on our side. Events held here in the past have attracted a lot more people.”
The Healthy Haven garden in Beaulieu Road, Hythe, also hosted a Big Help Out event.
The garden is in the grounds of the Waterside Medical Centre, which is next door to the new Hythe and Dibden War Memorial Hospital.
Organiser Christine Bennett said: “We had a very good week at the Gardeners World Spring Fair at Beaulieu but we missed a week of gardening and wanted to catch up.
“We’ve got an open day coming up on June 24 and are keen to get the garden looking really nice.
Kim McKeon and Annie Carpenter in the Healthy Haven garden at Hythe. (Image: Newsquest.)
“We have a limited number of regular volunteers – 12 women and four men – and I’ve got a list of odd jobs from pulling things up to filling a skip.”
Work on the garden began in January 2019 and it opened a few months later.
Christine added: “It used to be a bit of grass with an old oak tree but it’s now a community garden. We sell all our produce at a table outside the medical practice.”
The Portswood branch of Age Concern UK held taster sessions for potential volunteers.