Wanted: judges for Britain in Bloom

Wanted: judges for Britain in Bloom

It’s easy to forget some of the often-unsung heroes of Britain in Bloom – the judges. Without these dedicated volunteers, Britain in Bloom wouldn’t exist. In our experience, the judges in Britain in Bloom are a friendly and supportive bunch, happy to offer advice and with a passion for improving the environment – that’s why they do what they do.

But have you ever considered becoming a judge for Britain in Bloom? Many areas are seeking regional judges for 2020, while the RHS is also looking to recruit more Britain in Bloom UK Finalist judges for next year’s competition. In the organisation’s latest edition of Grass Roots magazine, the RHS is publicising volunteering opportunities for enthusiastic people to join their judging teams. 

What are the requirements for being a Britain in Bloom judge?

To be eligible, applicants need to have a good horticultural knowledge as well as an interest in community gardening and experience of working with or supporting volunteer-led community projects. Also desirable is an understanding of environmental issues.

The demands of the role aren’t rigorous but do require a level of commitment. Training is provided, attendance at which is compulsory.  After training, national judges need to be available for one to two weeks during the judging period in late July/early August every year. They will also need to be prepared to travel around the country as part of the judging tour.  Although voluntary, full expenses are paid. 

According to the RHS website, the main activities that national judges will be required to undertake are:

  • To assess Britain in Bloom UK Finalists across the UK during the judging fortnight, marking against the Britain in Bloom criteria. 
  • To provide advice and feedback on how entries can improve upon their existing community gardening campaign and activities. 
  • To work with the RHS Communities Team to ensure that Bloom groups have a positive and fulfilling experience throughout their time as a UK Finalist. 
  • To act as an ambassador for both the RHS, and the Britain in Bloom campaign.

The closing date for applications is 8th September 2019. For more information and to apply, visit www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/roles.

Regional judges also required

Areas such as South & South East in Bloom and Heart of England in Bloom are also looking to recruit judges and community assessors to their garden, horticultural, parks and conservation judging teams. Successful applicants would be required to commit a minimum of three days in June/July for regional judging.  They would also be required to attend a compulsory training day. Following training, new judges are assigned to a senior judge/mentor. Once they have completed a probationary year, judges will then be invited to judge/assess for a further four years.

Why be a Britain in Bloom judge?

Chairman of East Midlands in Bloom and a regional judge for over thirty years, Jeff Bates spoke about the pleasure that he has gained from being involved in judging the competition in his foreword to Amberol’s free How to excel in Britain in Bloom guide published in 2014.  

“I see communities transform parks and open spaces, care for allotments, work with children and groups with particular needs and plant almost everything conceivable in likely and improbable places,” Jeff explained. “Wildlife and habitats are enhanced through their activities, and living environments are seen to become cleaner, greener, more used and much safer.

“Perhaps most of all, it brings people together across all ages and backgrounds in a common cause. People with expertise help and encourage those who are learning; people with physical ability help those who have less; people who can benefit from the efforts of others are able to say thanks for what is being done.”

At Amberol we see first-hand the hard work and expertise that national and regional Britain in Bloom judges bring to the competition.  We thank these dedicated volunteers for the important part that they play in helping to make Britain more beautiful and a better place to live.

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