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Village feature: Westbourne and Southbourne

Southbourne St John's circa 1895

Southbourne St John's circa 1895

THE parishes of Westbourne and Southbourne nestle between the picturesque areas of Chichester Harbour and the sprawling South Downs National Park.

Westbourne parish, which includes Aldsworth and Woodmancote, has a strong sense of community with numerous village groups and organisations.

Despite the declining number of shops, the village still retains a strong identity, which residents are keen to hold on to.

“It is a relatively vibrant community,” said Westbourne parish councillor, Richard Hitchcock.

“There are still a fair few shops, which, ideally, we will be able to retain.

“The parish council is active in doing what they can to enhance the life of the village, dealing with opportunities and, more recently, threats, which include planning applications for what are considered to be undesirable additional housing.

“A lively and well-fought campaign to prevent 22 houses being built on one of he village’s green lungs recently celebrated success, when the government inspector dismissed the appeal.

“This is testimony to the energy and commitment of villagers when it comes to protecting what they hold dear. In the past 15 years, the village has seen a not inconsiderable amount of additional housing, but villagers know when the line needs to be drawn.”

The parish hall is a popular destination for activities and an increasing number of events are being held in The Meeting Place in North Street.

Just over a year ago, Emsworth and Westbourne hosted its first of art and culture festival called Wemsfest.

“This was a great success,” said Richard. “In its second year, it has expanded into Southbourne,Nutbourne, Bosham, Chidham and Hambrook.”

Southbourne not only boasts a strong sense of community spirit, but lively schools which play a big role in the community.

Southbourne Primary School has just achieved a good Ofsted inspection, and Bourne Community College is going from strength to strength, working closely with other schools and organisations in the community.

“We have enjoyed hosting sports tournaments, when all of the local primary schools bring their teams to our site to compete against one another” said Simon Liley, head teacher at Bourne.

“Another great example of our work in the local community was the production of a mural, by our year 8 students, in Emsworth House residential care home.

“The students designed the various elements of the mural in school before spending a few days completing it at the venue. The final artwork is superb and is bringing many smiles to the residents’ faces.”

Like Westbourne, Southbourne is pretty village with a rich history.

But there is plenty going on behind the scenes and considerable effort is put into preserving precious facilities.

“The result of considerable endeavour is the village hall, which finally opened in 1972 after many years of private fund raising stretching back to the 1950s,” said Southbourne resident Ruth Heelan.

“The Southbourne Sea Scouts was founded in 1933 by a local farmer, Charles Brundrett. They originally met in a barn and Mr Brundrett became their first scoutmaster.”

“The land on the shoreline opposite the scout headquarters was donated to the villagers; allowing boats to be launched to this day.”

Southbourne Primary School attracts many of the area’s families. Over the past few years, the school community has thrown itself behind a number of fundraising appeals including Help for Heroes, raising more than £2,000 for wounded soldiers.

At the heart of the parish is the church of St John the Evangelist – which boasts a thriving youth club and many community events.

Southbourne is also home to Tupenny Barn, a small holding which puts on educational events and grows organic produce to sell.

An enterprising family business, Southbourne Village Shop is also popular with residents,.

 

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