RHS Britain in Bloom to Honour Flood Hit Communities with New Award

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Judges will recognise efforts to overcome adversity in 2016 campaign

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom campaign will for the first time formally recognise the efforts of communities that have been flooded, with the creation of a new discretionary award for overcoming adversity.

The announcement of this new award comes on the same day the RHS revealed the 72 RHS Britain in Bloom 2016 finalists. Judges will make their first visits to the finalists across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Jersey and Guernsey in August.

This award will celebrate the resilience of those who work year-round to put the Bloom back into their towns, villages and cities after such challenging circumstances, while recognising the impact of the recent catastrophic floods and other potential challenges that communities face throughout the campaign.

Groups including Aberdeen in Bloom, Kendal in Bloom, Dalston in Bloom and Corbridge in Bloom are among the communities hardest hit by the recent flooding. Many areas are still carrying out clean-up operations before preparations for Britain in Bloom can begin.

Visiting judges will hear how the groups have met these extreme challenges; judges will offer advice from their own experience and from their knowledge of areas that have been affected by extreme weather in the past.

Roger Burnett, Chair of RHS Britain in Bloom Judges, said: “My advice to this year’s finalists would be to demonstrate how they have overcome the atrocious conditions we’ve seen in many parts of the country over the last couple of months.

“Bloom groups are always very resilient when it comes to extreme weather and nature has a great way of bouncing back, so we all look forward to a meeting our finalists to see what wonderful work they are doing to bring their communities together under the banner of RHS Britain in Bloom.”

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach, said: “This new award will celebrate the enormous efforts made by those Bloom community gardening groups who face extreme challenges, such as the devastating floods of recent months. It’s a tremendous achievement to reach the UK Finals of Bloom, and illustrates all of these groups’ impressive commitment to improving their local environment through joined-up community action.”

Other RHS Discretionary Awards include the Young People’s Award, Conservation and Wildlife Award, and the Community Champion Award, which is awarded to individuals who demonstrate exceptional commitment and dedication to Britain in Bloom in their community.

Case Studies

Aberdeen in Bloom
The award-winning Seaton Park (pictured above before and during the recent flooding) has seen the worst flooding in its history.
Steven Shaw, Environmental Manager at Aberdeen City Council, said: “Some areas have been washed away and many are still under water so we don’t yet know if we have the resource, budget or time to reinstate our displays and projects to the same standard. It is going to be a real challenge to get the park back to how it was, but we do love a challenge, and we have received a fantastic response from Friends, communities and volunteers!”

Kendal in Bloom
Several sites on the Britain in Bloom judging route have been affected by flooding, including Abbot Hall which comprises a park, playground and peace garden. A lot of work was planned to take place in the park and the peace garden, which was planted in autumn 2015.
Janine Holt, Kendal in Bloom, said: “The biggest impact for us will not necessarily be the damage caused by the floods, but the effect of the long-term clean-up work required. The floods will certainly make our entry into the campaign more challenging, and we may have to rethink the route for the judges’ tour, as well as some of our community projects. However, community spirit is running high and I am sure that Kendal will rise to the challenge!”

Dalston in Bloom
Three rivers run through Carlisle, one of which runs through Dalston and has flooded over the past couple of months.
Ronnie Auld, Dalston in Bloom, said: “Last year was challenging for the group because we had such a late spring, but we would usually have started preparations by now. It hasn’t stopped raining since December and this is the first time I can remember that Dalston has flooded in this way.”

Corbridge in Bloom
Corbridge in Bloom have experienced huge amounts of rain since December, and 2000 bulbs that were planted on the north side of the river are still under water.
Neville Rutherford, Chair of Corbridge in Bloom, said: “We are being patient at the moment, and have our fingers crossed for some days without rain. We don’t think our displays will be as good as last year now, but working on them in this weather would just cause even more damage to the soil.”

For more information please contact Siobhán MacMahon in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3043 or siobhanmacmahon@rhs.org.uk  


Notes to editors

Full list of 2016 Finalists:

Finalist Category Region / Nation
Aberdeen City Scotland
Ahoghill Champion of Champion (Small Town) Ulster
Amersham Town Thames & Chilterns
Barwick in Elmet Large Village Yorkshire
Beer Large Village South West
Belfast City Large City Ulster
Bellingham Village Northumbria
Birmingham Champion of Champion (Large City) Heart of England
Bournemouth Coastal over 12k South & South East
Bute Coastal up to 12k Scotland
Canterbury City Small City South & South East
Castlecaulfield Village Ulster
City of London Town London
Cleethorpes Champion of Champion Coastal over 12k) East Midlands
Colchester Small City Anglia
Coleraine Large Town Ulster
Colwyn Bay Large Town Wales
Congleton Large Town North West
Corbridge Small Town Northumbria
Dalston Large Village Cumbria
Deal Coastal over 12k South & South East
Derry City Small City Ulster
Dufftown Large Village Scotland
Durham Champion of Champion (Large Town) Northumbria
Elswick Village North West
Evington Urban Community East Midlands
Exeter Small City South West
Exmouth Coastal over 12k South West
Farnham Large Town South & South East
Filey Coastal up to 12k Yorkshire
Fordham Village Anglia
Freckleton Small Town North West
Gogarth (Llandudno) Urban Community Wales
Great Yarmouth Coastal over 12k Anglia
Haddington Town Scotland
Harrogate Small City Yorkshire
Hillsborough Large Village Ulster
Immingham Town East Midlands
Kendal Large Town Cumbria
Kippax Urban Community Yorkshire
London Borough of Ealing Large City London
London Borough of Havering City London
London Borough of Tower Hamlets City London
Loughborough Small City East Midlands
Lytham Champion of Champion (Coastal up to 12k) North West
Mablethorpe Coastal up to 12k East Midlands
Mancroft, The Lanes Urban Community Anglia
Market Harborough Large Town East Midlands
Mathern with Pwllmeyric & Mounton Village Wales
Middleton by Wirksworth Village East Midlands
Midsomer Norton Town South West
Newcastle Coastal up to 12k Ulster
Oldham City North West
Perth Large Town Scotland
Portishead Large Town South West
Rugby Small City Heart of England
Ryde Large Town South & South East
Silloth-on-Solway Coastal up to 12k Cumbria
Southport Coastal over 12k North West
St Brelade Coastal up to 12k Jersey
St George Urban Community South West
St Martin Town Guernsey
St Peter Port Coastal over 12k Guernsey
St Pierre du Bois Champion of Champion (Coastal up to 12k) Guernsey
St Saviour Small Town Jersey
Studley Small Town Heart of England
Tenby Coastal up to 12k Wales
Upton on Severn Large Village Heart of England
Walthamstow Village Urban Community London
Whitehead Small Town Ulster
Wigan Large City North West
Wisbech Large Town Anglia

About RHS Britain in Bloom
RHS Britain in Bloom is the UK’s largest community gardening campaign, involving up to 300,000 volunteers. As part of RHS Britain in Bloom – which includes grassroots community gardening scheme 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

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


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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

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