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RHS announce 2020 theme for Britain In Bloom

RHS announce 2020 theme for Britain In Bloom

With a new year and a new decade just around the corner, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced its theme for Britain in Bloom 2020.

Named, ‘Grow Social’, the theme is a well-chosen one for the competition which is known for drawing communities together in a combined effort by people of all ages and backgrounds to improve where they live and work.

Growing social together

Announcing the new theme, the RHS explained the organisation’s thinking behind the 2020 concept, urging In Bloomers to make new connections in their communities and reach ‘beyond the garden gate to bring people together’.

As part of the competition and the organisation’s general mission to promote gardening within the community, the RHS are keen to include schools and community groups. To help support and promote the initiative, the RHS is also producing a pack with advice and tools to help organisations get started. The pack will be available in January 2020 either as a hard copy or to download online from the RHS website.

Amberol’s MD Patience Atkinson-Gregory is in full support of the annual Britain in Bloom 2020 theme. “Although it is a competition, the In Bloom community is such a supportive, community minded group of people which is one of the reasons why we enjoy working with them so much,” she comments. “Many of our In Bloom customers have a real passion for making their environment better, and that gives everyone involved an instant bond. We like to think that we are part of that community too. We think of our customers as friends working towards the common goal of making a visible difference to places across the UK – and further afield.”

Rewarding a community effort

Britain in Bloom entries are often led by volunteers with some support from councils and local authorities in different regions. The competition brings people together from all walks of life including schools, businesses, charities and individuals. Community involvement is a key part of the judging criteria and has been given even more credence in 2020 with the allocation of marks for community involvement rising from 25% to 30%.

According to the RHS, the main reason for increasing the allocation of marks for community involvement is a recognition of the reality of decreasing levels of support from local councils due to their own funding issues which has led to a greater reliance on volunteers. An FAQs section explaining the marking criteria explains why the changes have been made, saying: “We know that Bloom is so much more than just flowers, and people with the broadest range of skills can contribute to the success of their local Bloom group. To remain relevant to these hard-working communities the programme needs to recognise their efforts and a simple way to do this is to reward them with additional marks for community involvement.” More information about changes to the mark scheme in 2020 can be found here.

Reducing watering time – perfect for volunteers

One of the reasons that Amberol’s self-watering planters are so popular with Britain in Bloom entrants is the fact that they reduce the need for maintenance and watering to once a week in most cases. This is particularly important when relying on volunteers who usually have a limited amount of time to offer. Because most of Amberol’s self-watering planters need watering no more than once a week, it’s easier to create great displays with large floor standing planters, tiered planters and even hanging baskets which can traditionally be high maintenance during the warmer weather.

If you are interested in volunteering for the RHS, Britain in Bloom, In Your Neighbourhood schemes or any similar initiatives, click here to find out how.

To find out more about how Amberol’s range of self-watering planters could help your community group or organisation, email sales@amberol.co.uk or call 01773 830 930.

£500 project grants available for Greening Great Britain!

The RHS Greening Great Britain campaign is one of the organisation’s most high-profile initiatives. It aims to encourage people to grow more plants anywhere and everywhere across the UK. Individuals, community groups, businesses, schools and colleges – any organisation is welcome to get involved.

Plants and climate change

The RHS has around half a million members, making the organisation a powerful agent of change. With issues around climate change gaining ever-increasing attention in both government and amongst the general public, there has been a parallel rise in the understanding around the need for more plants and trees as a way of benefiting wildlife and the environment, as well as our own general wellbeing.

It seems as if the Greening Grey Britain campaign is having an effect. According to the RHS, over 176,000 trees, 966,000 shrubs and 10,000 bulbs are planted every year by the thousands of volunteers that make up the UK’s Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood community groups.

Making connections

The Greening Great Britain theme for 2020 is ‘Growing Connections’, which perfectly complements the Britain in Bloom 2020 theme of ‘Grow Social’. The latter aims to highlight the important role that volunteers and the community play in the annual competition as well as within their local area. The Growing Connections theme came about after feedback from those involved in community gardening highlighted the value of coming together with others and the importance of the friendships that were forged.

Could you qualify for a £500 grant?

To help promote the Greening Grey Britain initiative, the RHS is offering grants of up to £500 plus expert advice and support from the RHS Community Outreach team to groups in regions where there is an outreach officer. The closing date is 14th February and people are invited to apply online here.

Applicants are required to outline a project that they have planned to improve an area within their community The application should explain what they hope to achieve and how it will benefit their community.

If successful in applying for a financial award, the £500 grant could be put towards a range of costs including plants, seeds, tools, gardening accessories or containers for planting such as one or more of Amberol’s self-watering planters which hep reduce time spent on watering, making it easier for volunteers. The grant could also go towards the cost of materials to create planters, peat-free compost and soil enhancers.

In addition to the financial award, valuable support from an experienced RHS Community Outreach Advisor is also on offer. They can support groups by helping to plan a planting project and offering useful advice on a range of horticultural issues including plant selection as well as making suggestions for how the project can be maintained in the future. They can also offer skills training and workshops to benefit your community group as a whole. However, as the programme involves hands-on involvement from the Community Outreach team, support is only available in regions where there is a project officer. Check here to see if your group is eligible.

Examples of successful projects

Previous successful applications include:

  • A project that united a secondary school in Edinburgh and a care home to plant up the home’s courtyard with bulbs and herbaceous perennials
  • A project by a Brownie pack in Yorkshire which involved improving the local railway station and giving plants away to commuters
  • An initiative to create a garden for people with dementia and their carers.

“The RHS is a useful resource for individual gardeners as well as gardening groups – in fact, anyone who has an interest in making their environment better,” comments Amberol’s MD Patience Atkinson-Gregory. “This latest awards scheme is well worth taking the time to apply; not least for the wealth of expert support and advice on offer.”

Amberol’s products are used by councils, community groups, businesses, schools, Britain in bloom groups and a whole range of organisations. To find out more about Amberol’s range of self-watering planters, litter bins, planter ware or benches and tables, email sales@amberol.co.uk or call 01773 830 930.

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