Sent on behalf of Britain in Bloom and the Royal Horticultural Society:
From Coupar Angus to Jersey, Great Yarmouth to Derry, over a 12 day period starting on Monday 3 August, nine pairs of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) judges will see them all, as the 2015 Britain in Bloom with the RHS UK Finals Judging Tour hits the road in search of the very best in community horticulture… and this week they’re coming to Leeds.
Selected last year to represent Yorkshire in the UK finals of Bloom – Europe’s biggest community gardening campaign – Leeds is hoping for top marks in order to be crowned best in category at the glittering Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Sunderland on 16 October. Starting on 3 August, the judging panel of expert horticulturists will criss-cross the country to visit villages, towns and cities that were selected from nearly 1,000 to represent their region or nation in the UK finals.
In Leeds RHS judges will next week meet community representatives and go on a tour of local projects, taking into consideration three key criteria; horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility, demonstrated across public spaces such as town or city centres, parks and communal gardens, as well as natural spaces including conservation areas and wildflower meadows. Each group’s final score also takes into account a whole range of complementary factors, from the condition of street furniture to the engagement of young people in Bloom activities.
More than 500 volunteers have invested their time to earn Leeds, Woodlesford and Scholes a place in this year’s finals by greening grey spaces, brightening up streets with floral displays, litter-picking and street-tidying and so much more. As part of their commitment to creating green spaces in their communities, this year’s finalists have together planted an astonishing 2,000,000 plants, trees and bulbs over the past year.
Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities Councillor Debra Coupar said: ‘We are really looking forward to welcoming the judges from Britain in Bloom to Leeds, which is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the fantastic projects and displays that are playing such an important part in helping our communities look so beautiful and full of colour.’
Fiona Murray, from Garforth in Bloom said: ‘We are delighted to work with Leeds City Council and the RHS to improve the look and feel of our community through floral displays. The work of our group has helped transform a number of ugly grey corners into bright sunny spaces people can now enjoy. Being part of In Bloom has enabled so many of us to learn new skills and make new friends whilst improving the environment for the people of Leeds. We are really excited to have played a part of the city’s nomination for Britain in Bloom this year and look forward to continuing to do so in the future’.
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: ‘Many see Britain in Bloom with the RHS as a competition of floral skill but spectacular displays make up only a small part of the judging criteria. We’re keen to see how the finalists have used public green spaces for the benefit of their communities, supported local wildlife and considered the environment in their efforts. I’m sure my fellow judges would join me in wishing good luck to all the 2015 finalists.’
Britain in Bloom started in 1964 and over 50 years on, is now a UK-wide campaign with a strong focus on environmentally responsible practices, and bringing people together. Finalists work with a number of supporting organisations to transform their communities, from local businesses to schools, hospitals and prisons. Nine of this year’s finalists are working with a nearby prison to encourage horticulture as a means by which inmates can develop new skills while making a rewarding contribution to their wider community. In fact, more than half of finalists cite the biggest benefit of being involved in Bloom as bringing the community together. 33% said it is having cleaner and greener surroundings, while 27% say increased civic pride is the most notable impact. Other benefits include improved local economies, better profile of area and a reduction in crime and antisocial behaviour.
Each finalist will be awarded a Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver or Bronze medal. There is also an award for best in category, as well as special discretionary awards given for achieving excellence in particular fields.
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For more information, please contact Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821
3356 or email email@example.com.
For more information on RHS Britain in Bloom visit www.rhs.org.uk/communities
Each finalist location includes a designated media moment as part of their judging tour – please contact the RHS Press Office to be considered for accreditation.
Notes to Editors:
Britain in Bloom with the RHS
- UK’s biggest community gardening campaign involves up to 300,000 passionate local volunteers who work year-round to keep our neighbourhoods and streets green, clean and thriving.
- Bloom was started by the British Tourist Authority as a way to attract visitors to the UK through floral displays. In 2001, the RHS took over as organisers and have developed the campaign to include greater focus on community participation and environmental responsibility.
- In 2006, the RHS launched a new grass roots level for Bloom – It’s Your Neighbourhood (IYN) – aimed at small volunteer groups (such as youth groups, ‘Friends of’ groups, etc.) and has grown from 342 to nearly 2,300 groups.
- Since 1964, Bloom has evolved from what many saw as a rural hanging basket competition to a major socio-environmental campaign that is improving villages, towns and cities across the UK.