Green fingered volunteers from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, in the Coleraine area have been busy putting the finishing touches to their Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom campaign ahead of the arrival of RHS judges on Thursday 11th August 2016.
Last summer 72 locations were selected to represent their region/nation in this year’s Britain in Bloom finals, each hoping to score top marks and be announced category winner at an awards ceremony in Birmingham on 14 October. Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Coleraine in Bloom is in the Large Town category, alongside Colwyn Bay, Congleton, Farnham, Kendal, Market Harborough, Perth, Portishead, Ryde and Wisbech When assessing the Large Town Category, judges will take 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 entry’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. UK-wide Britain in Bloom groups transform an estimated 3,459 acres, equivalent to 9.9 Hyde Parks or 1,965 football pitches into green havens for all. Bloom volunteers have transformed derelict land into community gardens, greened grey spaces, brightened up streets with floral displays, cleared litter, grown fresh produce, and so much more. As part of their commitment to creating green spaces in their communities Britain in Bloom groups, including the 72 finalists, have planted more than 10 million plants, trees and bulbs over the past year.
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Maura Hickey commented; “I am delighted to welcome the judges to our beautiful area and showcase ‘Coleraine in Colour’ to support our entry in the Large Town Category of the 2016 Britain in Bloom competition. As I travel around the Borough on my Mayoral duties, the floral displays, park, landscapes and gardens are simply breath-taking. I commend the Coleraine in Colour Committee made up of representatives from statutory organisations, voluntary bodies, community groups and private enterprise, for their continued effort and commitment in protecting and promoting our beautiful town. Together they ensure the town is looking at its best for all our residents and visitors to enjoy.
This in turn helps Council to deliver such a high profile for tourism and economic development opportunities in this area. I would like to thank Council staff for all their hard work and efforts, it is greatly appreciated.” Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, commented: ‘Britain in Bloom is a real movement for good that is transforming neighbourhoods, creating communities and bringing the many health and wellbeing benefits of gardening to increasing numbers of people from every walk of life.
“The RHS Britain in Bloom finals are an opportunity to celebrate the tens of thousands of often unheralded volunteers who readily give up their time to improve their local environment. My fellow judges and I are immensely proud to be able to see the fruits of their labour and celebrate the work they do.” Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Regional Development, commented: “RHS Britain in Bloom puts communities’ front and centre as we recognise the amazing work they have done, often under incredibly difficult circumstances. “This year we will be presenting a new award that will recognise the efforts Bloom groups have made to make their communities greener and more beautiful places, often while facing adversity – from flooding to extreme heat and vandalism. Although the character, selflessness and resolve of Bloom Groups are well known, this new award will shine a light on the often uncelebrated work communities do to make the UK a greener, healthier place to live.”
“The finalists should be immensely proud of all they’ve achieved to get this far, and I wish them the very best of luck!’