Communities who are working together to make their area a greener, cleaner and friendlier place to live are invited to sign up for ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ – part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom campaign.
Last year, 50 groups from Nottingham received awards to celebrate their efforts in brightening up their own patch of the city. This year’s campaign in Nottingham is backed by Capital One, which is providing each group with a £20 voucher for Woodthorpe Park Plant Shop.
The IYN awards encourage communities to work together to improve their area through gardening and other environmental initiatives. Entry is free. A wide range of groups get involved, including community gardens, streets, sheltered housing complexes, Friends’ groups from local parks, Neighbourhood Watch schemes and churches. Participants report a better environment, improved community spirit and pride in the area as well as less anti-social behaviour.
Each community sets its own targets and works at its own pace. Pairs of assessors will visit each group in July or August to see what progress has been made and to give ideas and suggestions. Marks are given in three areas – Community Participation, Environmental Responsibility and Gardening Achievement. Awards will be presented in October, hosted by Capital One. More information is available from Nottingham in Bloom on 0115 8764985 or email@example.com.
Nottingham’s team of volunteer assessors includes Horticulture students from Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst campus, Nottingham City Council staff, and longstanding supporters of Nottingham in Bloom. New to the team last year was Jordan Marriott from Broxtowe, who at 19 was one of the youngest assessors nationally. Jordan is a former winner of the Nottingham in Bloom young gardener competition and was keen to get involved again.
He said: “Last year I visited four different ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ projects and I met some great people. It’s very good seeing how gardening can bring a community together, whether it’s an immaculate garden where prize vegetables and fruit are grown or simply a flowerbed that everyone owns. It’s also great how these projects can change people’s lives, improve a local area and bring people out of their shell. I really enjoyed being an assessor and I will certainly be doing it again this year.”
Councillor Malcolm Wood, Chair of the Nottingham in Bloom Working Group, said: “I am delighted that we have built up an enthusiastic team of great volunteer assessors who are keen to share the benefits of their own varied experience and knowledge. Some also use their involvement as a valuable addition to their CV.
“A wide variety of groups can participate in the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ campaign, which successfully encourages friends and neighbours to work together to improve their area. Official accreditation from the Royal Horticultural Society through IYN is not only worthwhile in its own right but can also support groups’ applications for funding and for other awards.”