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RHS celebrates 2021’s community gardening superstars

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced the Outstanding Entries in its inaugural RHS Community Awards which this year celebrates groups navigating the pandemic to support, engage and transform their local areas.

The new virtual competition was introduced this year when the charity’s annual RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals had to be postponed.
 
The new Awards saw 117 entries from 55 community gardening groups representing all regions across the UK, submit a digital portfolio of their work over the summer with a panel of judges identifying outstanding projects across five categories:
 
  • Nourishing Your Community - Growing, sharing or enjoying food with others
 
  • Nature-friendly Gardening - Creating habitats and using wildlife-friendly gardening practices
 
  • Green Solutions – Tackling environmental challenges such as climate change, air pollution and flooding
 
  • Cultivating Your Community – Bringing people together by involving a wide cross-section of the community
 
  • Planting with Purpose - Addressing specific challenges such as transforming a neglected area or reducing antisocial behaviour.
 
 
The RHS Community Awards shine a light on ingenious schemes that have been engaging communities and transforming spaces throughout the UK.
In Amersham, gardeners have looked to created pollinator corridors to offset the impact of the nearby HS2 development. This was achieved by introducing no-mow areas, sowing roadside verges with wildflowers, planting street signs with pollinator plants and switching formal floral displays in memorial gardens with pollinator beds and borders.
A project in Jersey established a community smallholding, planting alleys of fruit and nut trees, with space between the trees forming grass and wildflower pollinator patches. The site gives residents an opportunity to connect with nature, with beds of vegetables and a sensory garden planned for the future.
Volunteers in County Antrim transformed a neglected area of open space with bee-friendly plants; engaging several generations of locals from elderly residents to schoolchildren to provide the community with a completely reinvigorated space.
The judging panel was impressed with the number of high-quality projects in every region of the UK, with a particularly large number of projects championing environmental issues such as promoting pollinators and wildlife.
 
RHS Community Development Manager Kay Clark said: “We were delighted to see so many projects put forward for the inaugural RHS Community Awards and the Outstanding Entries show community gardening as its very best. Considering the difficulties of the past 18 months the level of engagement and achievement has been astonishing.
 “Community gardening has moved way beyond traditional eye-catching floral displays. Groups are driven by social and environmental purposes, and set out to make a tangible difference in their communities. Whether it be supporting wildlife, regenerating neighbourhoods, helping communities access nutritious food, mitigating the impact of climate change, or simply bringing people together; community gardeners are having a significant impact on the liveability of their local area.”
The RHS Community Awards will return in 2022, and will be open to a wider range of community groups. The Britain in Bloom UK Finals will also return in 2022. Further information on both competitions will be announced by the RHS in due course.
For more information about the RHS Community Awards visit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/community-gardening/news/articles/rhs-community-awards and for more information about community gardening, including how to get involved, visit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/community-gardening.
 

Notes to editors

Full list of Outstanding Entries:

Nourishing Your Community
Dunstable in Bloom
Mablethorpe in Bloom
Penrith Community Gardeners
Stony Stratford in Bloom
 
Nature-friendly Gardening
Amersham in Bloom
The People’s Project (Dumfries)
Royal Tunbridge Wells in Bloom
 
Green Solutions
Amersham in Bloom
Branchage Action Group
The Grow Project Jersey
Huntingdon in Bloom
Walthamstow Village in Bloom
Aberdeen Communities Together
 
Cultivating Your Community
Cullybackey
Friends of Dunchurch Society
Durham in Bloom
Penrith Community Gardeners
Tidy Randalstown
 
Planting with Purpose
Brandon in Bloom
Herm Island
Tidy Randalstown
 
For more information, images or interviews please contact:
Chris Banks on 07995 440332 or [email protected]

For more information about RHS Britain in Bloom visit www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/britain-in-bloom

Britain in Bloom with the RHS
  • UK’s biggest community gardening campaign involves around 3,500 community groups and hundreds of thousands of local volunteers who work year-round to keep our neighbourhoods and streets green, clean and thriving.
  • Bloom was started by the British Tourist Authority as a way to attract visitors to the UK through floral displays. In 2001, the RHS took over as organisers and have developed the campaign to include greater focus on community participation and environmental responsibility.
  • In 2006, the RHS launched a new grass roots level for Bloom – It’s Your Neighbourhood (IYN) – which is aimed at small volunteer groups (such as youth groups, ‘Friends of’ groups, etc.)
  • Since 1964, Bloom has evolved from what many saw as a rural hanging basket competition to a major socio-environmental campaign that is improving villages, towns and cities across the UK
     
 
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.
The RHS is fundraising £40m to transform our gardens, outreach and education facilities, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and growing RHS Garden Bridgewater, our fifth RHS garden which opened in 2021.

For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk.
 
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262
 

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.