Community Groups secure funding to reduce peat use

Friday 11 October 2013

RHS and Defra join forces to protect habitats, biodiversity and wildlife

Defra, in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), has announced the nine RHS Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood Groups who will receive funding to help them increase their use of peat-reduced and peat-free growing media as part of the Sustainable Horticulture in Partnership (SHiP) Scheme. Launched in 2013, the two year scheme is making £50,000 available each year to local authorities and community groups.

The second year of the SHiP Scheme will be launched in January 2014. To apply for funding, Britain in Bloom or It’s Your Neighbourhood groups (in England only) must be led by, or be working in partnership with, their local authority. Groups will need to develop partnerships with their local supply chain of growers, landscapers or growing media suppliers. There are no restrictions on the size, English location, or type of horticultural project.

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.

RHS Principal Scientist Dr Paul Alexander said: “We’ve had a great response from community groups around the country to this initiative. This interest confirms our belief that there is a real willingness to embrace peat-reduced and peat-free growing media.

“It is hoped the example set by the community groups will encourage all gardeners to phase out their use of peat based growing media. By us all taking responsibility and learning more about peat-reduced and peat-free media, we will be able to play a major part in saving our valuable peatlands.”
 

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Notes to editors

PARAGRAPH ABOUT EACH WINNING PROJECT

Friends of Evington in Bloom in partnership with Leicester City Council and Petersfield Growing Mediums. Grant awarded £2000, for a 2 year project
This group plan to use a growing medium based on composted bark and coir to grow a range of plants from seeds and cuttings in home greenhouses, window ledges in schools and using a community polytunnel. These will then be planted out in existing beds and containers involved in Evington in Bloom.

Halstead in Bloom in partnership with Braintree District Council and Colne Valley Nurseries. Grant awarded £2000, for a 2 year project.
This group will be using a wood fibre based growing media to systematically replace the growing media in all tubs and troughs in Halstead as part of the cycle of planting and removing summer and winter bedding. Summer and winter bedding will also be grown in peat free compost by Colne Valley Nurseries.

Friends of Norwich in Bloom in partnership with Norwich City Council, Collier Turf Care and Norwich City College. Grant awarded £6000 over 2 years.
This group will be using a growing medium based on composted bark, wood and green compost plus compatible fertiliser and pest management products to grow plants (mainly perennials) in selected Norwich green spaces, public, business and partner locations on a substantial scale, during which they will develop and assess the merit of peat-free growing media in replacement of the previous growing media

Caistor in Bloom in partnership with Caistor Town Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Lindsey District Council,and Waltham Herbs. Grant awarded £4000 for a 1 year project.
This group will be procuring plants (mainly perennials) from Waltham Herbs, grown in peat free compost consisting of coir, composted bark and green compost, for planting out in various parks and green spaces in Caistor.

Stroud in Bloom in partnership with Bisley Community Composting Scheme and Stroud District Council. Grant awarded £8000, for a 2 year project.
The group will be purchasing a medium sized shredder (part funded by the scheme) for a community composting scheme. The growing media produced by the scheme will be analysed and refined. Seeds collected from last year’s plants will be sown using the refined compost into pots and planters around Stroud Town effectively removing peat from the procurement chain. Demonstration beds will be set up to assess and evaluate the project.

Incredible Edible Shropshire in partnership with Shropshire Council, Love Plants/ Salop Leisure and Tom the Apple Man. Grant awarded £8000 for a 2 year project.
Incredible Edible Shropshire coordinates community growing activity around Shropshire through a number of groups. This project involves development of community orchards, community gardens and raised bed systems in various areas of Shropshire using peat free growing media, with all plants also being grown in peat free growing media.

Maghull in Bloom in partnership with Sefton Borough Council, HM Prison Kennet and Sunnyfields-Baskets.com. Grant awarded £8000, for a 2 year project.
This project aims to revitalise the flower beds and environs at The Meadows (a Sefton Borough Council Leisure Centre, Library, meeting rooms and Maghull Town Hall) using peat reduced growing media and perennial and annual plants grown in peat reduced growing media.. The physical work of re-establishing, planting and maintaining the beds will be done by re-settlement offenders from HM Prison Kennet.

Morpeth in Bloom, Morpeth Town Council in partnership with Heighley Gate Garden Centre and Northumberland County Council (Carlisle Park Horticultural Staff). Grant awarded £6515, for a 1 year project
This group will be undertaking a comparative trial of peat free, peat reduced and peat based growing media to attempt to overcome the historical reluctance of organisations to use peat free growing media and to demonstrate the quality of plants and displays that can be produced. This project will also be the theme of the annual Mayor of Morpeth School Garden Competition 2014. The group will growing seeds, cuttings and plug plants in 1) usual compost, 2) Reduced Peat compost (peat and green compost) and 3) Peat free compost (green compost based).

Urban Gardening Project in partnership with Manchester City Council and Hulme Community Garden Centre. Grant awarded £4000, for a 2 year project.
This group aims to develop their knowledge and experience of different peat-free growing media, and of the performance of different seeds and plants in them, shift all seed and cutting propagation, including potting-on, to peat free growing media and to buy only peat-free plants, trees and shrubs. Hulme Community Garden Centre will investigate the potential for them to grow peat-free plants they are not currently able to source grown entirely without peat using a new stock bed funded by the scheme.

For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 or email: garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk

For questions to Defra please contact Amanda Malyon, Defra Press Office, on 02072385498 or email: amanda.malyon@defra.gsi.gov.uk

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

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, 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.

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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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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