Residents can make community bloom

NEIGHBOURS can get together to improve their streets - and win an award in the process.

The Royal Horticultural Society is calling for entries to the Britain in Bloom Neighbourhood Awards, its new campaign to encourage small resident-led communities to improve their local environments.

The new scheme helps people work together to transform their surroundings.

RHS Britain in Bloom chairman of judges Jim Buttress said: "Small things can make a big difference. The Neighbourhood Awards encourages communities to use sustainable planting to enhance their local streets, start recycling, promote biodiversity and care for their surroundings. It's free to enter and open to all."

Residents need to register before April 30 to be part of the Neighbourhood Awards. Britain in Bloom judges will visit your community in the summer to give advice and a certificate of achievement will be presented later in the year.

Neighbourhood Awards campaigner Mary Armstrong is one of five residents at the Irk Valley Estate Neighbourhood Award community in Manchester who came together to overcome problems such as burned out and derelict buildings, vandalism and the general degradation of their housing estate.

The small group secured funding from their council and got the other residents excited about making a difference, from there they were able to clean up and green up their small estate.

Mrs Armstrong said: "The flowers are just a very small part of what we have done - the social aspects are far more important.

"The whole thing has put the heart back into the community and people now take a pride in where they live. It's changed the whole aspect on the estate.

"Everyone is doing their bit to make the area outside their houses look clean and tidy, with planters filled with flowers and hanging baskets on display."

To find out more about the awards and to register and receive a starter pack, visit www.rhs.org.uk/britaininbloom, email reneedodds@rhs.org.uk or phone 020 7821 3657.

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