'Oldham in Bloom is supported by the local council. Glenn Dale, Head of Environmental Management, shares why it’s so important to the local area.'
We’ve been an active participant of Britain in Bloom since 2000 and have worked hard to engage the local community over the last 17 years, even during times of austerity, enabling local people to understand the benefits and pride that Oldham in Bloom (our local part of the Britain in Bloom scheme) brings to their town. Everyone involved in the programme has demonstrated just what can be achieved when people in the community work together and we invest in the local area. We’ve used a simple horticultural inspired acronym (BEECHH) to explain the benefits of the scheme to local residents which has proved really useful and informative.
Here is BEECHH, fully explained
B is for Business: The positive changes we’ve seen in the town centre as a result of Bloom have created a place where businesses want to be, and want to grow. This has created more employment opportunities for local residents.
E is for Education: We’ve worked with young people to get them involved in planting days, but also to link in with them on broader environmental issues and campaigns, such as reducing litter in the area. We’ve established a training programme that sees Oldham in Bloom work with the local college to bring people who are unemployed into work. Students work through an apprenticeship scheme and into full time employment. This gives young people academic and practical training with a future career path. We run public sessions at green growing hubs to give people of all ages the training and experience they need to garden and grow. At the end of the sessions, participants harvest, prepare and cook the produce using our outdoor pizza oven as a way of celebrating their achievements.
E is for Environment: Bloom has led to us adopting green initiatives such as water harvesting, street cleaning programmes and green waste recycling across the town centre and wider districts.
C is for Communities: We’ve been working closely with community groups and residents. The amount of time they’re able to give to volunteer, combined with their passion, has made Oldham in Bloom such a success. We’ve been able to create a real sense of pride in our community.
H is for Health: We’ve developed growing spaces and allotments throughout Oldham, as part of our community grant giving scheme called Green Dividend. Two groups have used their grants to enhance former bowling greens and turn them into growing hubs. This has inspired others to take action, help with the upkeep and brought real benefits to people’s health and wellbeing. Alleyways at the back of terraced properties are being used as growing areas and places for social interaction. This has not only reduced loneliness, improved peoples physical and mental health, but has also brought about a dramatic reduction in fly-tipping. We’ve also been given £500,000 of public health funding to further develop schemes, a direct result of the success of Oldham in Bloom.
H is for Horticulture: We maintain a nursery that grows approximately 30,000 spring bedding plants and 130,000 summer bedding plants to put into our displays. Having a local nursery means we can keep our planting fresh and interesting through the seasons, ensuring colour and interest for all our residents and visitors. All proceeds from our nursery go back into the Oldham in Bloom scheme.
Due to the hard work of community volunteers, residents and Oldham Council, Oldham in Bloom scooped a fantastic number of awards in 2017, these were:
Gold in the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals, Champion of Champions competition
Joint winner of the Growing Communities category, RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals
Gold and Best City category winner at the North West in Bloom Regional Awards
Gold for Best Town Centre at the North West in Bloom Regional Awards
Winner of the best feature in a public place
Two Greenflag awards for Alexandra and Dunwood Parks