A Blooming Success!
A local voluntary organisation scooped a hat trick of awards recently for their community garden project. Chelford Tenants and Residents Association received 2 awards from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) North West Britain in Bloom campaign.
On the first day of the Awards ceremony the Association received a level 4 "Thriving Award" in the "It's Your Neighbourhood" Awards, which was up a level from last years' first year of entry when the Association received a "Developing" award. "It's Your Neighbourhood" is part of the RHS North West Britain in Bloom competition and recognises the work that community groups and volunteers achieve in making a difference to their communities. It is judged on 3 separate areas: horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation. The Awards are at 5 levels Level 1 Establishing, Level 2 Improving, Level 3 Developing, Level 4 Thriving and Level 5 Outstanding. As it is only the second year of operation of the project volunteers were extremely proud of the achievements.
Over 1,600 persons attended the presentations held at Southport over 2 days and a further surprise was in store when the Association was asked to attend the second day when regional awards were presented. The Chair of the Association, Mike Jehan, who attended the presentations said " It was a really wonderful surprise to receive a second area award for the best tableau in the whole of the North West region for our interpretation and display celebrating 50 years of Britain in Bloom. This award is an acknowledgement of all the hard work our volunteers put into the project to make our community a better place to live. We are very proud of our community"
The Association choose to make a tableau featuring scarecrows and including sunflowers to fit in the RHS theme "Growing for Gold"
The group was established in June 2012 and their first project was a new border in a previously neglected piece of ground when the "Jubilee Gardens" were created. From there the group thought what can we do next and through fundraising managed to get their own 20 feet x 10 feet community greenhouse.
The group grew over 1,000 plants, mainly perennials from seed and plug plants this year which were used in communal plantings with the spare plants being sold at low cost to enable for the project to be sustainable.
In addition they grew over 160 dwarf sunflowers from seed for their displays and tableau. the local school were even involved with a sunflower growing competition!
Finally out of the blue came a third recognition of the volunteers work in the awarding of a "Little Gem" Award from Cheshire Community Action: Community Pride Competition 2014 for the community greenhouse and gardens. Unbeknown to the Association the judges when looking at Chelford for the Community Pride Competition were impressed with the groups efforts. Kath Gildon, Chair of Chelford Parish Council said "The judges were really impressed with the community greenhouse and surrounding gardens, which they thought was a great asset to the community and village"
As well as creating nicer areas for people to look out on the project encourages volunteering and people to take part in a communal activity. David Kent, Secretary stated, "The response we got from residents this year was brilliant, and although some of our older residents cannot do physical gardening many were able to take part by planting pots and containers. It was a real community effort which we should all be proud of"
Asked why people volunteer David said " It's to make a difference and improve peoples lives, and although it can be hard work the efforts are worthwhile". He showed a letter that came from a local resident that explained why community projects are so important:
"Today for once the sun is about to shine (I hope) and I am sitting outside my home thinking about the last 12 months, and how sad we were and still are as a family having lost the nicest man you could have ever known, my husband of 63 years Bill.
However when I look at the wonderful garden in front of me and think of all the hard work my friends have put in and worked so very, very hard; you have no idea how much I appreciate looking at this lovely display. Kew Gardens have nothing on Chelford.
Well done to all the Garden Club members and thank you so very much for cheering me up
Iris Ryder, Astle Court, Chelford"
BACKGROUND INFORMATION RHS
David Kent (Secretary CTARA) 01625 861038 firstname.lastname@example.org