Talking Point — October 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm — Updated: October 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Welsh Gold Rush at Community Gardening Oscars

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Wales scoops awards at RHS Britain in Bloom 2013 UK Awards Ceremony

britain in bloom pic

Prestatyn won their category and achieved a Gold

Last night, community gardeners in Wales were celebrating after winning a category in the 2013 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals. Welsh finalists picked up two RHS Gold Medals and two discretionary awards which recognize excellence, innovation and a commitment to keeping communities clean, green and beautiful.

Prestatyn won the Coastal (with a population over 12,000) category, achieved a Gold and were awarded both the RHS Britain in Bloom Young People’s Award for involving young people from the community in an effective way, and the RHS Community Award, given to finalists who have engaged people from all corners of the community, from pupils through to local businesses. Usk was also awarded Gold but just missed out on winning their category. Colwyn Bay was awarded a Silver Gilt in the LargeTown category.*

Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: “The image that most people have of RHS Britain in Bloom is of pretty hanging baskets and colourful bedding displays but this is a far cry from what the campaign is really about. Our finalists were nominated to represent their region or nation for a range of reasons. For example, awards were given out in recognition of innovative environmental practices, such as efforts to help native wildlife, for educating young people in horticulture, engaging with businesses and for strengthening communities. In reality every finalist is a winner no matter what medal they get so well done all three Welsh finalists. It was a true pleasure to visit such wonderful places and meet such inspirational people.”

Roger Burnett led a team of fourteen volunteer judges who toured the UK in pairs at the end of July and early August visiting each of the finalists. They marked against three central criteria – horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.

More than 1,000 UK communities, from big cities to small villages, participate each year in the RHS campaign to green-up and clean-up Britain. Of these, just 77 finalists were chosen to represent their region or nation in the UK Finals in 2013.

A survey conducted earlier this year found that more than 20,000 volunteers spent 100,000 hours of their spare time getting their respective communities into the finals of RHS Britain in Bloom. Collectively they manage 90,000 acres of public space and planted more than 2,000,000 plants over the last year.

Through corporate sponsorships, 2013 finalists raised almost £350,000 to help fund local projects, such as the creation of allotments and nearly all finalists have changed their activities because of climate change and, for example, many now plant sustainably.

Lytham, in Lancashire, was awarded the ultimate community gardening prize winning the Champion of Champions 2013 award, meaning the town is arguably the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful location in Britain.

RHS Britain in Bloom Community Award:

“Prestatyn in Bloom is a relatively new group and are a first time entry into the National finals, they don’t profess to be experts in horticulture but one thing they excel at is engaging with the various community groups within the Town. They see themselves more as co-ordinators bringing together various interest groups to improve their environment. From the kids at the schools through to conservation groups, friends groups, Payback and the councils Public realm team they motivate everyone. The whole place has been renovated with a host of improvements to retail, business, the private sector and public areas, nothing is left out. However the overriding element in all this is the community, Bloom is a trailed as a community campaign, the future is to be seen in Prestatyn in the Town in it’s people and the environment they all live and work in.”

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