Monday 10 June 2013
RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers invest more than 1.2million hours into improving their local areas
Bloom volunteers also raised £5 million through corporate sponsorship and more than £10 million through other means (e.g. private investment; local fundraising activities) to help fund local projects.
The survey of 76 RHS Britain in Bloom groups also found that volunteers look after nearly 2 million acres of public space (more than five times the area of London), and planted 20 million plants last year. Typical activities undertaken by Bloom volunteers include street-cleaning, transforming derelict land and managing public pocket parks.
Stephanie Eynon, RHS Community Horticulture Manager, said: “People’s perception of RHS Britain in Bloom is that it’s all about pretty hanging baskets brightening up rural villages, but these new survey results illustrate how the campaign is so much more than that.
“The difference Bloom volunteers make each year on a grassroots level is improving the physical and environmental face of the UK and begs the question: What state would Britain be in without them? They deserve more recognition and on behalf of the RHS, I would like to thank each and every Bloom volunteer for giving up so much of their spare time to making Britain an even more green and pleasant land.”
Survey recipients cited some of the key benefits of participating in RHS Britain in Bloom as bringing communities together, improving the environment, increasing civic pride, helping local economies flourish and cutting crime.
RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers who have shown an outstanding contribution were recognised by their communities across the UK during Volunteers Week (1-7 June). They include:
Harry Minns (Caistor, Norfolk)
Following a stint in the Royal Navy, 90-year-old Harry Minns has been a dedicated Caistor in Bloom volunteer for over 50 years. He has been the driving force behind local tidying campaigns and helped turn litter-strewn car parks into green havens for the local community.
Louis King, Caistor Civic Society Chair, said: “Harry is an inspiration to us all. Caistor has truly benefitted from his enthusiasm and we thought Volunteer’s Week would be the perfect time to recognize his huge contribution.”
Youth volunteers from Remedi (The Meadows, Nottingham)
A group of young volunteers, aged between 10 and 17, regularly help out at Arkwright Meadows Community (AMC) garden, tending to the allotment site which was once a derelict area frequently used by fly-tippers. Remedi is funded by the Nottinghamshire Youth Offending Service.
Rachael Hemmings (AMC) said: “We would like to thank volunteers from Remedi for their continued support of our RHS Britain in Bloom campaign. Volunteers have turned up in all weathers, keeping the garden tidy and being a valuable part of the team. Their regular commitment to AMC has helped the gardens flourish and we’re so grateful for their support.”
Helen Lerner (Walthamstow in Bloom, London)
Helen is an extraordinary community volunteer and recently received a BEM (British Empire Medal) for her services to Walthamstow. The streets of Walthamstow are full of colourful planting, spotlessly clean and very well maintained and this is largely down to the efforts of Helen and her band of Bloom volunteers.
Penny Wiles, Walthamstow in Bloom, said: “Helen is an absolutely inspirational person who makes all of us feel like we’re part of an exciting community. Her efforts here have put pride back into Walthamstow. She’s made us all proud to be a part of what she’s achieved.”
Ledbury in Bloom volunteers (Herefordshire)
Ledbury in Bloom Committee chose to honour its volunteers with certificates of achievement. The volunteers work tirelessly all year round to improve the local environment and have even given their time to other community groups.
Gareth Morgan, Chair, said: “We wanted to show our volunteers how much they are appreciated. They really can’t be commended enough for all the hours they give to making Ledbury safer and prettier.”
Doris Boocock (Moorsholm, North Yorkshire)
86-year-old volunteer Doris Boocock from Moorsholm in Bloom, was presented with a new broom when last one perished after years of sweeping one of the main thoroughfares in the village.
Kenneth Gillance, Chair of Moorsholm in Bloom, said: “In this lonely moorland parish we have very few visits from street cleaners and assume responsibility ourselves. The old broom may have worn out, but Doris is far from being tired and thrives on the activity and exercise. What better example of the joys of volunteering.”
Brian and Vi Waining (Hunmanby, North Yorkshire)
Brian and Vi Waining of Hunmanby have also been recognised for their extraordinary dedication to volunteering in their community. Brian and Vi were behind the transformation of a once unloved quadrant of ground within a home for the elderly. They turned it from an eye-sore into a beautiful garden, suitable for all residents, regardless of their mobility.
Jo Simmons, from Hunmanby in Bloom, said: “Without Brian and Vi, the regeneration of Hungate Court would never have happened. We thought Volunteers’ Week would be the perfect time to recognize their huge contribution to the community.”
Notes to editors
*There are more than 300,000 volunteers involved in RHS community gardening schemes including RHS Britain in Bloom and RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood. The stats in this press release are based on a survey of the estimated 200,000 volunteers that form the core of the Britain in Bloom groups. These stats do not include the additional hours worked and money raised by non-core groups such as It’s Your Neighbourhood participants.
For more information about RHS Britain in Bloom, please contact: Ed Horne 020 7821 3356 firstname.lastname@example.org in the RHS Press Office.
About RHS Britain in Bloom
RHS Britain in Bloom is the UK’s largest community gardening campaign, involving more than 300,000 people. As part of RHS Britain in Bloom – and its sister campaign, RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood – volunteers in cities, towns, villages, urban communities and neighbourhoods work together to improve their local environment, using gardening as a tool.
To find out more, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/communities
Get Involved Map
The online map enables volunteers to find and contact their local community gardening groups and schools registered with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. There are thousands of opportunities to get involved with community gardening groups and schools around the UK. To search through more than 1,000 “in Bloom” groups, 1,100 It's Your Neighbourhood groups, 16,500 schools and 1,235 affiliated clubs and societies, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/getinvolved
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, the first of our gardens, 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.
Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 200 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.
RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262