Bury in Bloom inspires co-operation and boosts civic pride, says Julie Pitchforth of Bury Council's Parks & Countryside team
Growing the local economy and inspiring community volunteering
Since joining Britain in Bloom 15 years ago, we’ve seen lasting improvements to the environment, which everyone can enjoy. It’s also boosted the local economy via increased tourism and investment. Bloom has inspired a wide commitment to volunteering as well as co-operation between different groups, which has really bolstered civic pride.
Bringing people together, some of Bury’s points for success:
- Bury in Bloom brings groups together working to the same goal. We have all ages working with us, from schoolchildren to retired members of our community. We also have allotment holders on board now adding variety to our entry.
- We have many community groups who work in and around our town centre that use Bloom as a chance to connect with their members. Many of these groups also sponsor floral displays or beds in the town centre, attracting future members to get involved.
- We have various ‘Friends of Parks’ groups who socialise in our local parks. They not only help out with activities like litter-picking, but they exercise together, improving their own physical and mental health, and meeting like-minded people.
- We have organised a gardening and poster competition for the last seven years to encourage local gardeners to show off their gardens and for schoolchildren to show off their art skills! The children’s posters are displayed in shops to support and promote Bury in Bloom and the whole event is sponsored by local companies.
- Bury Employment Support and Training set up a project six years ago in partnership with the Bury Council ground maintenance team, to support people with disabilities or at social disadvantage. The volunteers prepare, grow plants to be a made-up into hanging baskets. The money raised is re-invested back into the project to ensure the on-going development of work skills, confidence, self-esteem and social interaction.
- We run a sponsored sign scheme which brings in reliable funds for the programme. All sponsorship money is re-invested in the area where the sign has been adopted to promote Bury in Bloom.
- We have sponsorship in kind from two local garden centres (Newbank Garden Centre and Summerseat Garden Centre) who provide hands-on support instead of financial. They have taken over two major town centre sites and maintain them throughout the year.
- Our street cleansing department run a Street Care pledge where householders and schools can help litter-pick in their own areas, which has helped developed community pride.
- A local school group has taken over a disused bowling green and turned it into a wildlife space with raised planters, bug hotels and flowers for pollination.
Bury in Bloom has won 14 consecutive Gold awards in North West in Bloom, and was a Britain in Bloom national finalist in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017. Winning our category in 2015.