Community Gardening More Popular Than Ever

Wednesday 23 January 2013

RHS announces 2013 Britain in Bloom finalists

A 30% rise in sign-ups to the UK’s biggest voluntary campaign, Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom, means that more than 300,000 people are now investing in communities across the UK.

Since 2011, nearly 1,000 new groups have joined the RHS Britain in Bloom and RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood campaigns, and a record 80 finalists have been nominated to represent their region or nation in the 2013 Britain in Bloom UK Finals*.

RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood, set up in 2006 to cater for smaller volunteer groups such as residents’ associations, has grown to more than 1,680 groups, an 80% increase in just six years and a 21% uplift since last year.

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Regional Development, said: “Thanks to the legacy of London 2012, the power of volunteering has never been more widely recognised or appreciated. More Britons are prepared to donate their time and energy to worthwhile projects and we feel this could have played a part in the rise in volunteers joining their local gardening groups or setting up their own.

“More and more people are aware that helping improve their neighbourhoods can change lives and boost people’s confidence, health and happiness. The Britain in Bloom campaign is making a difference, and people want to be a part of that.”

This year, 80 finalists, from rural villages like Moorsholm to major cities such as Edinburgh, are participating in the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals. About 800 volunteers from these finalist communities will take RHS judges on a tour of projects and initiatives in July / August**. Results will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

Britain in Bloom started in 1964 as a way of marketing the country through floral displays. It is now a national campaign with a strong focus on environmentally responsible practices, and bringing people together. It is made-up of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who collectively give 4.4million hours to Britain in Bloom projects each year, and manage more than 50,000 acres of public space.

To download a copy of Britain in Bloom: transforming local communities, which demonstrates the extraordinary value of Britain in Bloom volunteers, visit: rhs.org.uk/britaininbloom    

For more information, please contact Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 / edhorne@rhs.org.uk 
 

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**RHS Britain in Bloom Judging
Taking into consideration three key criteria – horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility – RHS judges will assess public spaces such as parks, city or town centres and communal gardens as well as natural spaces including wildflower meadows and conservation areas. Judges score finalists on a comprehensive range of factors from recycling and waste management or condition of street furniture, to how much young people are aware of, and engaged with, Britain in Bloom initiatives.

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
An 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 Its Your Neighbourhood groups, 16,000 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
 

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

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

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262