Communities who want 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, 40 groups from Nottingham got involved in brightening up their neighbourhoods and received awards to celebrate their efforts.  This year the theme is ‘Greener Streets: Better Lives” – encouraging groups to turn grey spaces into beautiful green ones.

The awards are non-competitive and encourage communities to work together to improve their area through gardening and other environmental initiatives.  A wide range of groups can enter, such as streets, sheltered housing complexes, Friends’ groups from local parks, Neighbourhood Watch schemes, community gardens and churches. Nottingham groups that participate report a better environment, improved community spirit and pride in the area and a reduction in anti-social behaviour.

Each community sets its own targets and works at its own pace.  Assessors will visit each group in July 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 September.  More information is available from Nottingham in Bloom on 0115 8764985 or email It’s free to enter.

The team of assessors includes Horticulture students from Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst campus, along with other volunteers.  New to the team this year is Denise Hickman, tutor at Harpenden House Gardening Group, which participates in IYN.

Denise says: “The Harpenden House gardening group look forward all year to the visit by the IYN assessors. The students love being part of a wider gardening community and are so proud of their certificates! Our group is made up of enthusiastic people with learning disabilities along with volunteers and staff, and we have been entering for several years and getting ‘Outstanding Level 5’ awards.  I am delighted to become an assessor for IYN this year and am really looking forward to visiting some inspirational projects.”

Councillor Malcolm Wood, Chair of the Nottingham in Bloom Working Group, said: “This campaign is a really successful way of encouraging people to work with their friends and neighbours to brighten the area in which they live or work.  It’s great to see longstanding participants stepping up to become assessors, sharing the benefits of their own experience and knowledge.”