Investing in the built environment costs money. Many of our customers have to balance the benefits of initiatives such as creating floral displays and keeping the streets tidy with shrinking budgets. So, is the money that is spent on community projects such as brightening community areas, entering Britain in Bloom and funding litter facilities and campaigns really worth it?
A study of the economic impact of ornamental and horticultural landscaping carried out by Oxford Economics and commissioned by the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG) makes interesting reading for those looking for ways to improve their built environment - and the quality of life of the people who live, work and visit there.
The report found that ornamental horticulture helps to drive tourism by attracting visitors to the area. It also commented on the fact that green spaces were “remarkably beneficial to individual health and wellbeing, while also offering a raft of wider environmental benefits”. The report talks about the creation of employment as well as the contribution made by garden tourism. Citing the UK as the “gardening capital of the world”, the report also found that around one-third of all international tourist visits to the country involve at least one trip to a park or garden.
When talking about reasons to participate in Britain in Bloom, the Royal Horticultural Society also states that In Bloom groups regularly report higher numbers of visitors and a boost to the economy thanks to the initiative, as well as environmental benefits such as creating a cleaner, greener environment. It can also be a useful way of forging links with local businesses as well as other important organisations within the community.
A report by the RHS looking at the social, economic, environmental and transformational benefits of Britain In Bloom found that it helps to encourage inward investment by “making areas better places to be, so locals stay, and visitors are attracted to spend time there”. The report also cited the importance of support from local businesses who benefit from having an improved environment as it attracts more customers and increased revenues. If businesses can see the benefits of Britain in Bloom and other community initiatives, they are more likely to support them, creating a circle of investment and improvement.
In addition, the report concluded that in some areas community ownership and improvement of an area encourages residents to shop locally. Britain in Bloom also saves local authorities a lot of money in green space management, street furniture maintenance and litter collection through the involvement of volunteers.
But of course, investing in the environment still costs money. Even if many initiatives such as Britain in Bloom and the Great British Spring Clean are volunteer-led, materials such as seeds, plants, compost, planters, tools, litter bins and signage all come at a cost. One way of offsetting these expenses is to look for support from the local business community. This can vary from appealing for volunteers to help, to requesting donations to seeking sponsorship. In fact, the last option has been a successful way of generating income for many voluntary community groups.
If approaching organisations for support (financial or otherwise) it’s important to be clear about what kind of help you need and also to make sure that you outline the benefits to the community as a whole, as well as to the potential sponsor. Many organisations re attracted by the idea of positive publicity or by the idea of being a community champion, so make sure you have a way of recognising, acknowledging and celebrating your supporters. It also helps to have different options available so people can make the level of commitment that suits them.
Grant applications and crowd funding are just two other viable options for raising money for product to benefit the environment. Although it can be time consuming researching and making applications and seeking sponsorship, the rewards are usually well worth it.
To find out more about how using Amberol’s self-watering planters, litter bins, benches and picnic tables can enhance your community, call 01773 830 930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or to book a no-obligation on-site demonstration.
Britain in Bloom is all about community. Despite the fact that it is a competition, the individuals and groups who take part are mutually supportive, sharing the common goal of making their environment better, cleaner, brighter, more beautiful.
It’s not often that something is offered for free with absolutely no catch. But that is what we are offering here at Amberol.