Monday, 27 February 2012

Leeds going for gold in Britain in Bloom awards


Caption: The Britain in Bloom judges will visit Roundhay Park, where the RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal-winning HESCO Garden 2010 is on display

The city of Leeds will be aiming to make history this year by winning a first-ever gold medal after being nominated in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom 2012 Awards.

Leeds is one of five finalists in the ‘Large City’ category of the annual competition organised by the RHS which rewards horticultural and environmental excellence.

The city was nominated for the national awards due to its success in winning Yorkshire in Bloom last year, and will be looking to go one better than the last time it was nominated at national level two years ago in 2010 when winning a silver medal.

The city’s bid is being managed by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service, with support from sponsors Evans Property Group, Ford and Warren Solicitors and My Hermes.

The RHS judges will be coming to Leeds in mid-August to evaluate the city, looking for evidence of horticultural achievement as well as community engagement and responsible handling of environmental issues.

The route will see them take in the city centre including the Victoria Quarter and the St John’s Centre before heading out to east Leeds and taking in Thorpe Park Business Park as well as allotment sites, schools, nature areas and public recycling centres.

Along the way they will get to meet representative of Leeds in Bloom groups and community volunteers who give up their free time to enhancing the environment in Leeds. They will also be introduced to young people who are victorious in this year’s Leeds in Bloom 2012 Design a Flowerbed competition, which attracts entries from thousands of schoolchildren across the city each year.

As part of the route the judges will also stop off at Roundhay Park, where they will be given a special tour of the gold and silver award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show showgardens which are on public display in the ‘Gardens of the World’ section of the park.

Leeds will be going up against Birmingham, Sunderland, Wigan and Hillingdon in the large city category, with all five aiming to not only win a gold medal but also the coveted overall title of best large city in the UK.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“We are delighted to have been nominated as a city to take part in this year’s national RHS Britain in Bloom awards. To be nominated alone is a great reflection of all the hard work that goes on across the city, especially by thousands of unsung volunteers, to keep it looking great all-year round.

“Like any competition we want to win so we will be doing all we can to impress the judges when they visit and hopefully secure a great result for Leeds.”

Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service will be hosting an open day at the Red Hall Nursery from 9am-3pm on Saturday 28 April where officers managing the city’s Britain in Bloom bid will be available to answer questions or discuss all elements of the ‘In Bloom’ competitions.

Royal Horticultural Society director general Sue Biggs said:

“RHS Britain in Bloom would be not be the amazing success it is without the enormous number of volunteers who are committed to planting up their corner of the nation – dynamic people, all wanting to make the UK a better place to live.

“Together they plant more than 115,000 trees, 352,000 shrubs and 21.6 million plants and bulbs annually. The positive impact this has on the environment is enormous. It is an absolute honour for the RHS to be associated with these groups and individuals and I wish Leeds the very best of luck.”

The results of the RHS Britain in Bloom 2012 Awards will be announced in October. For more information, please contact Ed Horne on 020 7821 3356 or edhorne@rhs.org.uk.

Notes to editors:

RHS Britain in Bloom is the nation’s largest environmental campaign and involves more than 200,000 volunteers. Last year, the RHS released a report showing how the campaign is making a major difference to the social, environmental and economic health of the country. Examples of key findings are that community gardening reduces crime and encourages social cohesion.

Started in 1964 by the British Tourist Authority as a way of marketing the nation through floral displays, today RHS Britain in Bloom is a campaign that brings communities together to enhance the look, feel and pride of a place, through gardening and environmental projects.

For more information about the RHS, visit www.rhs.org.uk

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk