Ellen Mascard Engagement & Volunteering Officer
About Ellen Mascard:
Ellen is an Engagement & Volunteering Officer for Highdown Gardens and the Great Outdoors campaign at Adur & Worthing Council. Ellen has experience in community engagement, education and events within the environmental sector, and has worked for the National Trust, Wakehurst Place and Kew Gardens.
Ellen has been part of the Environmental Services Department since March 2021, and has been focussing her time preparing for Highdown Gardens reopening, coordinating returning volunteers, and organising events for the Great Outdoors.
When she isn't working at Highdown Gardens, Ellen is pottering and propagating in her own garden, or playing for her local girls football team. She has also recently gained her PADI scuba diving qualification, and can't wait to dive further abroad than Brighton Marina.
This week I visited Marine Gardens, a seaside park on West Parade. Here, locals can enjoy quiet contemplation around the water garden, a coffee catch up at the park's bustling cafe, or a game of golf on the putting green.
At the heart of Marine Gardens lies the bowling green. The beautifully maintained green is open for all to see, surrounded by ample seating to draw you in.
Despite the temptation to relax and chat around the pitch like many of the locals, I managed to pull myself away to meet with Norman Deegan, the treasurer of Marine Gardens Bowling Club (photo below), who I had the pleasure of speaking to about the importance of bowls and why this green space is the best in the borough.
You can read the Question & Answer session with Norman below the photo ...
Question & Answer session with Norman:
What are the benefits of paying bowls?
Bowles is not just a sport, here is a social side to it. Unfortunately, we have been severely restricted over the last 18 months, however after a match we usually sit down, have a chat, drink a cup of tea and have some biscuits. You meet different clubs, different people ... it brings people together! Also, for “people of our age” walking up and down a green for three hours throwing Bowls at a fair weight is very good for your wellbeing. It's a gentle exercise!
How important is access to a local green space such as Marine Gardens for you and your members?
Marine gardens is the best spot in the area! It's somewhere to come and socialise, you've got a cafe and you can park for free. Lots of people are attracted to the gardens. We've got a big following locally. People ask us to put our fixtures up on the notice board so they know when we are coming to play. I can guarantee on a sunny day all the benches around the green will be full up.
I saw on your website that it says all ages welcome.
There is no age limit to Bowls whatsoever ... if you can bend, you can play Bowls. Bowls unfortunately has a name that it's for old people but it's not. If you look at Champions League Bowls many players are young.
We occasionally have youngsters who are bought in by their grandparents. They stay for a couple of years then suddenly other interests take over ... such as girls! Our hope is however we introduce them to the game and then in their 40s they come back. We're trying to encourage youngsters. It's something I've thought about doing. It would be nice to go to a school and encourage children to come and play.
What would you say to someone who would like to try out bowling at Marine Gardens but was a bit apprehensive … How can they get involved?
Everybody's welcome no matter what level of skill they have got. They can be an absolute beginner. Sunday mornings from 10am to 12 noon we run a taster session, where anyone can come along. We provide the shoes and have coaches available who take them through the basics of Bowls and give them a session.
What does the rest of the year look like for Marine Gardens Bowling Club? Anything exciting in store?
We have our first social coming up to play skittles in Findon, and then have our annual President's dinner in October, so we are gradually getting back to normal. I have also come to Marine Gardens today to create a roster for people to start organising the teas and biscuits again, which is something we haven't been able to enjoy together since the pandemic.
If you are interested in joining Marine Gardens Bowling Club, or any other Bowls group in Adur and Worthing, please see below a list of clubs that play on our green spaces:
Each club has a link to their website below:
- Lancing Bowling Club website
- Shoreham-by-Sea Bowling Club website
- Southwick Bowling Club website
- Southwick Park Bowling Club website
- See also: Adur Indoor Bowling Club
- Goring Manor Bowling Club website
- Homefield Park Bowling Club on Facebook
- Marine Gardens Bowls Club website
- Tarring Priory Bowls Club website
- Worthing Pavilion Bowling Club website
- See also: Worthing Indoor Bowls Club website
This week on my journey to discover and connect with some of our best spaces and community groups, I visited Southwick Green - a traditional village and historic green used to play cricket since 1790.
It's surrounded by trees, has a popular local pub and a pavilion nestled in the corner. It was here at the pavilion where I spoke to Des Odell, Chairman of Southwick Cricket Club (photo below), about the importance of their green space, increasing participation in cricket, and the wonderful community of players, volunteers, and parents that make up the club.
You can read the Question & Answer session with Des below the photo ...
Question & Answer session with Des:
Q: Tell the people who you are and what club you are part of?
I am called the 'Chairman' of Southwick Cricket Club ... but really there is a whole gang of volunteers who do all sorts of things for the club. Southwick Cricket Club is located in Southwick Green and Buckingham Park in Shoreham.
Q: How long have you been part of Southwick Cricket Club and why did you decide to join?
I've been here for about 8 years. I got involved with a group of dads after we noticed there wasn't any junior cricket taking place here, so we started our own team for our 10-year-olds. Once we started on the green it attracted a lot more interest and grew from there.
Q: What is your favorite memory at Southwick Cricket Club?
The best memories I have is of a Friday evening, when you've got up to 100 five to 11-year-olds running around with bats and balls on the Green. It's quite an event on a summer's evening! Lots of parents come down and they bring picnics and drinks. Lots of people help to coach and there is a huge amount of enthusiasm.
Q: What has been the club's greatest achievement so far?
Our biggest success is actually our most recent. This year we've got so many girls playing cricket, so we created a women's team for girls to have a pathway after they left our junior sections. Our women's group started as a taster session and we had 16 women turn up from the age of 14 to 60. There was such demand for it that we then decided to run it for the rest of the summer.
We learnt quite quickly that when girls leave school they rarely play team sports again ... I just hadn't realised that. When our women's group gets together there's laughter all over the place, and they all look forward to playing in a team. They entered their first competition last weekend and won it! It's a great story.
Q: What are the benefits to playing cricket outdoors on green space as opposed to being indoors?
You're getting fresh air, you're getting vitamin D through sunlight, you're running around ... you can't get much better than outdoor cricket or any sport for that matter.
Q: What special qualities do Southwick Green and Buckingham Park have?
Southwick Green and Buckingham Park both bring something different. Southwick green is a very traditional village green with a pub on the corner, with a little pavilion ... it's all quite twee.
Buckingham Park is to cater for the change in the sport over the recent years. The shorter forms of the game such as The Hundred and the T20 need more space. We couldn't play those sorts of games if we didn't have Buckingham Park as it's far bigger. It's about having the right sort of space for the different games.
Q: How can people get involved with Southwick Cricket Club?
We have got a fantastic communications officer that creates posters, posts on Facebook and website content. Again, it's just another dad who came through and now volunteers. People can also just knock on the door and turn up!
Anyone's welcome, whether you love the game or are just looking to meet some new friends and have a run around. We'd love to hear from you.
If you are interested in joining Southwick Cricket Club, or any other cricket group in Adur and Worthing, please see below a list of clubs that play on our green spaces:
Each club has a link to their website and a second link to fixtures on the Play Cricket website:
- Southwick Cricket Club website
- Lancing Manor Cricket Club website
- Lancing Lightning Cricket Club on Instagram
- Shoreham Swingers Cricket Club website
- Broadwater Cricket Club on Facebook
- Findon Cricket Club website
- Goring by Sea Cricket Club website
- Worthing Chippingdale Cricket Club website
- Worthing Cricket Club website
The pandemic has been a tough time for artists, who typically rely on indoor galleries and shops to present their work. To help continue to showcase artwork, Adur & Worthing outdoor spaces have been utilised to display exhibitions in imaginative ways.
Use this guide to create your own art trail through the district this summer and enjoy the artwork on your doorstep.
The Nourishing Nature of the South Downs
Location: Worthing Pier
Dates: 23rd March 2021 - closing date to be announced
This heartwarming exhibition, currently displayed on Worthing Pier, was created to highlight the importance of the South Downs National Park for people's physical and mental health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Much of the exhibition was created by local people who were inspired by South Downs well-being walks led by community Artists, Nadia Chalk and Nessy Brean, from Creative Waves. Pop along to see the importance of the South Downs to different residents through the variety of paintings, drawings, sculptures, poetry and photos on display.
‘A Winter’s Swim’
Location: The Seafront Gallery (on the promenade west of Worthing pier)
Dates: May to November 2021
'A Winter's Swim' exhibits the rising trend of sea swimming throughout the pandemic. Jonathan Browning's uplifting photos celebrate swimmers migrating from pool to sea, plunging into cold coastal waters. Each image is taken in a different location across the UK - see if you can spot his shot of Shoreham!
Shop Front Exhibitions
Location: Ann Street, Montague Street, South Street (Worthing)
Date: 16th June 2021 - closing date to be announced
Adur & Worthing Councils have found creative ways to help artists showcase their work during the pandemic, by transforming unused shop fronts into 'canvases' for art.
The project has given exposure to local artists and charities, as well as the opportunity to welcome people back to a more vibrant town centre post lockdown. We hope that retailers return to the high streets soon, but are glad that their shopfronts can be given a new purpose in the meantime.
33 Tanka Sketches of Adur & Worthing
Location: West Buildings Shelter
Date: 2nd August to 3rd October 2021
Tanka poetry interacts with the senses sight, smell, touch, taste and sound, through descriptive language which produces strong imagery. Originating in Japan over 600 years ago, Lee Jackson uses this early form of poetry to be mindful of people and nature present in the district of Adur and Worthing today.
Lancing Story Buildings
Location: Brooklands Park
Dates: 4th August to October 2021
Ceramic artist Alice Mara has created a series of miniature buildings well known by Adur and Worthing residents. Luxor Cinema, Lancing Sailing Club, The Empire Club, and Goring House have all been interpreted by Mara based on local peoples stories connecting them to that place.
To find out about the fascinating backstories that inspired each piece, a social media link will be available next to each sculpture with further information, or you can ask Alice herself who will be delivering tours of this unusual exhibition on the 4th September.
Photo: Minature Luxor Cinema created by ceramic artist Alice Mara
Public greenspaces were classed as official areas in the mid 18th century, with the belief that they could have a positive effect on people's health. Fast forward 180 years to an increasingly urbanised population, greenspace has never been more important for our mental health, especially throughout the pandemic.
Why nature is good for our mental health is quite complex and not fully understood, however research shows that nature stimulates our senses, creating a soft fascination which puts our busy minds at rest. Spending time in greenspaces improves mood and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
So what positive interactions can we have with our greenspaces, and how can that improve our psychological well-being?
Mindfulness is the practice of noticing what's around you using your senses in the present moment, with the aim of helping you to feel less stressed. Studies have shown that practising mindfulness in a natural outdoor environment enhances stress reduction, and it is officially acknowledged by Mind as a way to relax.
If you are interested in practising mindfulness come along to the 'Bureau of Noticings' event at Brooklands Park on the 27th July or Highdown Gardens on the 28th July 2021 (see details on the Cast Iron Theatre website).
Storytellers Laura Mugridge and Andrew Allen are back after 100 years of travelling the globe, and need help with creating an inventory of the surrounding area. The pair will send you on a path that encourages participants to be mindful of their surroundings through the fine art of noticing.
Exercising outdoors improves mood and self esteem, as well as reducing anger and depression. Studies have shown that physical activity in outdoor greenspaces, compared to indoors, increases vitality. Green activity can also motivate further exercise as nature creates a sense of escapism.
If you would like to take your choice of exercise outdoors, why not sign up to a yoga session at Highdown Gardens? The sessions will focus on 'resetting your nervous system, releasing tension and tuning into your surrounding elements'. See:
Engaging with wildlife:
Greenspaces also provide an excellent opportunity to interact with animals and wildlife. It's thought that engaging with animals in their natural habitat improves people's mood and has a relaxing effect, for example the joy of listening to ducks by a pond or spotting the first daffodil of the year.
The Big Butterfly Count will be taking place until the 8th August. Adur & Worthing's Park Rangers need your help to spot as many different types of butterflies as part of this initiative, and will be bringing butterfly ID charts along to each Great Outdoors Ranger event to assist you.
Photo: Monarch butterfly
Parks are important recreational hubs that are enjoyed by locals from dawn to dusk, from early morning dog walkers, to sunset photographers.
Here in Adur and Worthing we have over 80 parks, many of which are hosting a variety of morning, afternoon, and evening events this summer. Look no further for the ultimate guide on how to make the most of your local parks throughout the day.
Are you an early riser? Get your day off to a good start by running in your local park. Parks offer a safe, off-road, natural, and attractive environment for runners to improve their fitness and wellbeing.
Good news for all Parkrun enthusiasts - the famous 5k community runs are back! The free-for-all events are due to recommence from Saturday 24th July 2021, and will be returning to:
If you would like to try outdoor running, but need a helping hand Active8 are running Couch to 5k courses at Beach Green from September: see the Active8 website for details. The small group sessions are open to adults of any fitness, and offer free childcare to encourage busy parents to get active. The course is part of the Active Park Project and requires a £10 deposit which it returned upon completion of 6/8 sessions!
Lounging around on a sunny afternoon, listening to the birds, scoffing sausage rolls, cheese sarnies, and mini apple pies ... no park visit is complete without a picnic.
If you would like to avoid the cooking part but enjoy the eating bit, park markets are for you: Coronation Green will be serving up street food with a beautiful view of the River Adur when it hosts Freewheelin FEASTival on 7th and 8th August.
Parks also provide habitat for wildlife and open green space, making them perfect for an afternoon of engaging with nature and playing sports.
This summer residents will have the opportunity to learn about nature in their local park by joining in with events such as bushcraft skills, butterfly surveys, and arts sessions led by Adur & Worthing Park Rangers. The Rangers will also be delivering Big Games days. These high activity sessions will include rounders, disc golf, and timed obstacle courses. Perfect for youngsters to burn off some excess energy and for families to socialise this summer.
You can find out more about the different events taking place across Adur and Worthing's parks at:
As day turns to dusk, parks become magical places for live entertainment. Adur and Worthing's parks are hosting some exciting performances for all the family this summer including:
- Circus Wonderland at Adur Rec from 14th to 18th July 2021,
- Tom's Midnight Garden ballet at Beach House Park from 14th to 15th July 2021
Live music is also returning to green spaces:
- More Radio Live is back at Steyne Park for a night of live tribute acts on 21st August 2021
Photo: Buckingham Park, in Shoreham
Photo: Homefield Park
Page last updated: 24 May 2022