Success achieved on a small budget
Tewkesbury in Bloom is run entirely by volunteers and has been part of Bloom since 1990, when it was run by the British Tourism Board. In 2017, UK-wide austerity hit home and the group’s council funding was cut by 50 per cent. Despite a much tighter budget, the group gained a Gold medal as well as Best in Category (town).
Looking to other sources
To make up the shortfall, local businesses, organisations and individuals were encouraged to sponsor displays such as hanging baskets, barrels, bridge and railing planters in return for sponsorship signage.
However, it was not possible to cover the costs of supplying and maintaining the summer flower displays, such as the town's war memorial, which sits at the centre of the town and is known locally as The Cross. In this instance, it was not felt appropriate for a business to have sponsorship signs at the memorial.
It had always been tricky to find sufficient funding for the flower troughs at the base of the memorial (the costs are around £400) and in 2017 and for the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele, Tewkesbury in Bloom needed to think outside the box for a solution.
The group manages its own website and social media profiles, including Facebook and Twitter, so they looked online for help. Volunteers launched a crowdfunding campaign through Crowd Funder, where groups and individuals can help to raise funds for specific projects. Within 48 hours they had raised all the funds necessary! “We were completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the community,” says volunteer Shelby Powell.
Shelby encourages other groups to consider crowdfunding to make up similar shortfalls: “It is well worth investigating to see how it could help to raise funds for specific projects,” she says. “There are quite few online sites which can be used to raise funds all of which are quick and simple to set up. They are a great cost-effective way to raise funds and also increase the profile of projects.”