Tuesday 26 July 2016
• 2016 Britain in Bloom with the RHS UK Finals Judging Tour runs from 29 July - 12 August
• Judges to travel length and breadth of the UK to visit all 72 finalists in 15 days
• Groups plant more than 10 million bulbs and trees to green Great Britain
From Ahoghill in Ulster to Colwyn Bay in Wales, over a 16 day period starting on Friday 29 July, 11 pairs of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) judges will see them all, as the 2016 Britain in Bloom with the RHS UK Finals Judging Tour hits the road in search of the very best in community horticulture.
Assessing more than 5,000 acres of public green space in 72 locations that have planted their way to the UK finals of Bloom – Europe’s biggest community gardening campaign – the judging teams of expert horticulturists will criss-cross the country to visit villages, towns and cities chosen to fly the flag for their region or nation in the prestigious UK finals.
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. The results will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony in Birmingham on 14 October.
This year Birmingham (Heart of England), Cleethorpes (East Midlands), Durham (Northumbria), Lytham (North West) and St Pierre du Bois in Guernsey will be competing for the title of Champion of Champions, the ultimate Britain in Bloom award.
To be considered for the top Bloom awards the judges 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. Complementary factors, such as the condition of street furniture and the involvement of young people in Bloom activities, will also count in the assessment of groups.
In preparation for the judging, thousands of Bloom volunteers have been working to transform derelict land into community gardens, brighten streets with floral displays, litter-pick, grow healthy produce, and so much more.
RHS research has revealed the scale of the work undertaken by groups who have planted more than 10 million trees, bulbs and other plants over the past year, and donated 11.7 million hours of their time for free in order to improve their communities.
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: ‘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 is 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, said: ”RHS Britain in Bloom puts community achievement front and centre, as we recognise the amazing work 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!’
Britain in Bloom started in 1964 and 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.
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For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821
3060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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
The 2016 RHS Britain in Bloom National Judging Panel
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) – which is 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.
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.
We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.
The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262
2016 judging schedule: