Ten Times More Green Space Managed By Bloomers Than Three Years Ago

Monday 3 February 2014

RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers now look after the equivalent of 500 Hyde Parks of public green space - ten times more than 2010

A new survey looking at the impact of community gardening in the UK has revealed that the amount of green space RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers manage has increased ten-fold in just three years.

Amounting to more than 200,000 acres of public land, from pocket parks, to conservation sites, RHS community gardeners look after the equivalent of over 500 Hyde Parks.

It was revealed that local groups who responded to the survey are now responsible for the upkeep of on average, more than 110 acres of green space each*, compared to just 10 acres per group in 2010.

RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, said: “A large part of RHS Britain in Bloom is about people coming together to take responsibility for green space that might otherwise have been left unmanaged.”

The survey of nearly 300 community gardening groups also shows that almost 60% have turned abandoned land, much of which is prone to fly-tipping, into usable community spaces such as allotments. It is estimated, that, UK-wide, RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers have transformed nearly 2,000 football pitches of neglected land.

Sue added: “It’s a huge year for RHS Britain in Bloom, being its 50th anniversary, so what a great opportunity to champion the work of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who beautify Britain and keep villages, towns and cities clean and green for the rest of us.”

Over 60% of groups run wildlife projects and manage seasonal displays and more than half run environmental clean-ups and recycling activities. Groups cite some of the key benefits of being part of RHS Britain in Bloom as being the development of a sense of community, cleaner and greener surroundings, regeneration of run-down areas and a reduction in anti-social behaviour.

For information, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/getinvolved



Notes to editors

For more information please contact Ed Horne on 020 7821 3356 / edhorne@rhs.org.uk or Hattie Sherwood on 0207 821 3126 / hattiesherwood@rhs.org.uk

*Examples of volunteer groups who look after green space:

• Chesham in Bloom (Buckinghamshire) is a volunteer group set up to improve how the local area looks, and how people feel about the town. The team looks after 100 acres of public land and has been responsible for planting flower beds, holding regular tidy-up days and refurbishing a roundabout. The group has established wildflower areas and planted hedgerows and trees.

• Friends of Lyme Valley Parkway (Staffordshire) is a voluntary community group set up in 2005 to oversee the regeneration of Lyme Valley Parkway, Newcastle-under-Lyme. Improvements made by the group include the installation of a lit cycleway, an outdoor gym, a purpose-built green events area and it has recently received funding to develop 50 organic allotments on this 125-acre site.

• Caistor in Bloom (Lincolnshire) looks after 40 acres of land and the team has done a considerable amount to improve the area. For example, Caistor volunteers planted a community orchard next to the local cricket pitch and created a sustainable flower bed at the entrance of a local school, resulting in a low-maintenance welcome to all who visit. Caistor reports turning four acres of disused space into community areas.

• Friends of Yate Common (South Gloucestershire) was formed in 1987 when there was a real threat that the local common would be built on. The group saved the area and it is now a safe haven for many species of birds, mammals and insects, and is more than 200 acres in size. The group holds regular work days including litter-picking, bramble-cutting and gateway-clearing.

• Kensington Road Residents Association & Neighbourhood Watch (Bristol) looks after a community garden on unadopted land and reports to have transformed an acre of public space. The group claims that the ‘environmental improvements help to deter crime and antisocial behaviour’.

Entry Name Category Region/Nation
Ahoghill Champion of Champions Ulster
City of London Champion of Champions London
Glenrothes Champion of Champions Scotland
Shrewsbury Champion of Champions Heart of England
Woolton (Liverpool) Champion of Champions North West
Filey Coastal Up to 12k Yorkshire
Hunstanton Coastal Up to 12k Anglia
Tenby Coastal Up to 12k Wales
Sidmouth Coastal Over 12k South West
St Peter Port Coastal Over 12k Guernsey
St Andrews Coastal Over 12k Scotland
Bath Small City South West
Bracknell Small City Thames & Chilterns
Chorley Small City North West
Crawley Small City South East
Derry City Small City Ulster
Harrogate Small City Yorkshire
Tamworth Small City Heart of England
Loughborough Small City East Midlands
Aberdeen City Scotland
Oldham City North West
Westminster City London
Norwich City Anglia
Hillingdon Large City London
Sunderland Large City Northumbria
Leeds Large City Yorkshire
Cranbrook Small Town South East
Dunnington Small Town Yorkshire
Pitlochry Small Town Scotland
Sedgefield Small Town Northumbria
Whitehead Small Town Ulster
Bridgnorth Town Heart of England
Dalton with Newton Town Cumbria
Henley on Thames Town Thames & Chilterns
Immingham Town East Midlands
Linlithgow Town Scotland
Shevington & District Town North West
Thornbury Town South West
Halstead Town Anglia
 Belper  Large Town  East Midlands
 Carrickfergus  Large Town  Ulster
 Colwyn Bay  Large Town  Wales
 Congleton  Large Town  North West
 Farnham  Large Town  South East
 Malvern  Large Town  Heart of England
 Perth  Large Town  Scotland
 Truro  Large Town  South West
 Wisbech  Large Town  Anglia
 Alton  Large Town  Southern
 Durham  Large Town  Northumbria
 Bridgers Community Group (Leigh)  Urban Community  North West
 Eston (Middlesborough)  Urban Community  Northumbria
 Evington (Leicester)  Urban Community  East Midlands
 Kippax (Leeds)  Urban Community  Yorkshire
 London Bridge (Southwark)  Urban Community  London
 Port Marine & Village Quarter (Portishead)  Urban Community  South West
 Town Close Ward (Norwich)  Urban Community  Anglia
 Dufftown  Large Village  Scotland
 Hillsborough  Large Village  Ulster
 Limpsfield  Large Village  South East
 Market Bosworth  Large Village  East Midlands
 Usk  Large Village  Wales
 Glenarm  Village  Ulster
 Kirkoswald  Village  Cumbria
 Moorsholm  Village  Northumbria
 Norton in Hales  Village  Heart of England
 Upper Hopton  Village  Yorkshire
 Filby  Village  Anglia
 Elswick  Village  North West
Great Whittington Small Village Northumbria
Tresco Small Village South West
Bray Village (Conservation Area) Small Village Thames & Chilterns

About RHS Britain in Bloom
RHS Britain in Bloom is the UK’s largest community gardening campaign, involving more than 300,000 people. In 2014, the campaign celebrates its 50th anniversary as Britain’s favourite gardening campaign. 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  

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. 209 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