What Our Customers Think
‘Say it with flowers – and Amberol,’ says Norwich City Council
The city of Norwich is the capital of the rural East Anglian region and the city council manages services for over 141,000 residents living in the area. Norwich itself retains an historic character: it is the site of many mediaeval buildings and the impressive Norman cathedral as well as the remains of an ancient city wall. There are also 523 hectares of parks and open spaces – around 1/8 of the city’s area. Many residents and tourists regularly visit the well maintained parks and gardens, including the Victorian Plantation Garden, the Castle Gardens which are the site of outdoor theatre and cinema in the summer months and the Chapelfield Gardens – in addition to the numerous smaller parks and communal spaces.
A long term partnership
Terry Bane works in the council’s Neighbourhood Services department on a part time basis as a contract officer helping to manage grounds maintenance, street cleansing and waste management contracts. He is also the Horticultural and Funding Officer for Norwich City Council. Both Terry and the council have a long history of working with Amberol, having used the company’s products since it was first set up over 40 years ago. “We were one of the first authorities to use Amberol’s ‘Up the Pole’ baskets which until very recently were used at the city’s Yacht Station every summer,” comments Terry. Since this time, the authority has continued to use Amberol products to create their highly successful floral displays around the city.
As a city popular with tourists, maintaining attractive communal areas through the use of horticulture and floral displays is important for the local authority. Norwich has had great success in the Britain in Bloom competitions, winning the urban regeneration category in 2008. LivCom Norwich was awarded a gold and category winner in 2010 in the International Award for Liveable Communities. The city was also awarded the maximum 5 bloom award and best youth award at the International Communities in Bloom finals in 2009.
Bringing colour to the city
Terry believes that using Amberol products has helped to play a part in the authority’s Britain in Bloom success and their containers and planters are used to good effect all around the city. “We always show Amberol containers to the judges,” he explains. “We use Amberol barrier baskets on railings at traffic junctions and hanging baskets on stands along Castle Meadow, as well as floral fountains at Norwich train station. All these Amberol products enable us to grow colourful bedding plants in areas where they will be seen by many, including residents, commuters and visitors.”
A sense of civic pride
Attractive communal landscaping is an important part of maintaining a sense of civic pride, particularly in urban areas and helps to bring visitors and workers to the area. As Terry explains, “Floral displays make a real difference to the city. My phrase is, say it with flowers – it is a tangible way of saying that we care about our environment and the people who live here. I also believe that flowers, parks and open spaces attract visitors to Norwich. Everybody appreciates flowers and colour, especially on a dark cloudy day during the winter. In economic terms, many organisations use floral displays as a way to promote their business, adopting sponsorship displays near to their premises that help fund and sustain the displays.”
Three words that Norwich City Council use to describe Amberol products:
Terry also highly values the self watering facility that many of Amberol’s products have as an important way of helping the council to save both time and money, making the communal displays easier to maintain and to keep looking their best. “The self watering containers help us save significant amounts of water and time in terms of repeat visits. They come in different colours and are robust enough to last for many years,” he comments.
With their long partnership, Terry feels confident recommending Amberol to others, both in terms of the quality of their products, and also because of the high levels of customer service. “I have recommended Amberol to many people because the products have been so successful here in Norwich. Staff at the company have always been very friendly and helpful whenever we have dealt with them.”To find out more about how Amberol’s products can help you, visit our website at www.amberol.co.uk, call 01773 830 930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amberol help bring the ‘feel good’ factor to Birmingham
The city of Birmingham is a busy urban community which has a rising population of over one million, with one third of the populace belonging to an ethnic group other than white. As the nation’s second largest city, Birmingham Parks and Nurseries DSO has a substantial task on its hands creating and maintaining attractive horticultural displays in communal areas, as well as undertaking grounds maintenance and floral enhancement within parks and other areas of the city. The city has five premier parks with the largest, Sutton Park National Nature Reserve, covering a total of 2,400 acres. Birmingham Parks and Nurseries DSO consists of approximately 140 staff employed in a range of roles.
A long term commitment
Birmingham City Council has used Amberol products for many years as part of its ongoing commitment to the importance of communal landscaping, and the two organisations have forged a good long term professional relationship. Birmingham Parks use a range of different Amberol products to create varied and attractive floral displays. Popular choices include the economical self watering large and small hanging baskets, window boxes, barrier boxes and various free standing containers which are placed at different locations all around the city.
Reflecting their commitment to the part that floral displays can play in developing a sense of ownership and civic pride within the urban community, the authority has had considerable success in the prestigious ‘In Bloom awards’. In recent years, Birmingham has been awarded gold in the urban community category in the 2009 Heart of England in Bloom awards. They were also awarded a gold in 2010 in the large city category, Heart of England in Bloom.
Amberol plays its part
“Amberol products play a major part in all of our competition entries – and our success,” explains Tim Oakes, Operations Manager of Birmingham Parks and Nurseries DSO. “Their products are of a simple fool proof design, well made and durable. Unlike other similar products that I have come across, they also have ample room within the container for a good root run which is so important in establishing hardy, flourishing displays.”
Tim explains how Amberol’s self watering containers also help the department make considerable savings by conserving both water consumption and the staff time required for maintenance. “With the use of Amberol’s special self watering system we are able to manage with two visits a week by our watering crews in most summers. This would compare to daily visits required for other non reservoir types of containers during the warmer months.”
Three words that Birmingham Parks and Nurseries use to describe Amberol products:
Birmingham City Council’s commitment to communal landscaping and making the environment appealing also brings important commercial benefits for businesses in the city, as Tim explains. “We supply floral enhancement to several business improvement districts within the city as well as smaller local community groups and individual businesses. The feedback is usually good, with a growth of 4% in 2010 on previous year’s orders, despite the current economic climate. The relevant organisations all report that footfall significantly increases when the area looks attractive and well cared for. It seems that floral enhancement definitely helps to give the area the ‘feel good’ factor. In this way, we believe that floral displays are critical to the city – for residents, visitors, workers and businesses.”
Tim also has warm words of recommendation for Amberol as a company. “The staff at Amberol have always been friendly and helpful, providing us with excellent service as well as resilient, high quality products. They are always responsive and obliging when we request quotes. We would happily recommend both Amberol’s products and the company itself to other organisations looking for quality and service.”
Amberol ‘offer outstanding service’ to Saltburn by the Sea
Saltburn by the Sea is a small Victorian seaside town in North Yorkshire which was first established as a holiday resort for wealthy industrialists with the arrival of the steam train in 1861. Now, 150 years on, this historic town has a population of over 6,000 residents and a thriving sense of community. The residents’ sense of pride in their town is demonstrated by their active participation and notable successes in the nationwide Britain in Bloom competition as well as Northumbria in Bloom.
Entry into the competition is organised by the Saltburn 500 Club. Originally set up in 1988 and run by around 30 volunteers, the organisation became the Saltburn in Bloom Group in 2001. Over the years, the town has had considerable success in the competition at both regional and national level, including winning the Best Small Town trophy on more than one occasion. In 2004, Amberol also presented the town with the Northumbria in Bloom trophy for the Best Coastal Resort – a title which Saltburn has won every year since.
Working in partnership
The Saltburn in Bloom group has worked with Amberol since 2003 and the two organisations have formed a good working relationship. “Amberol products always play a major part in our In Bloom entry,” comments Jackie Taylor, Co-ordinator of Saltburn in Bloom. “We use a wide range of their containers, including large and medium sized planters, half circle baskets, hanging baskets and barrier baskets. The variety of styles, shapes and sizes enables us to create more varied floral displays. This year we have also used their new range of wooden effect recycled plastic planters.”
Jackie also feels that Amberol will go that extra mile to help out their customers and cites an example to support this. “In 2003 all our floral displays were poisoned and it looked as if our chances in the Britain in Bloom competition were ruined; it was a real blow for everyone who had worked so hard putting the displays together. However, Amberol came to our rescue by donating 60 hanging baskets, 8 large containers and 12 half circle baskets to help us out – they really saved the day.”
Combining conservation and style
The Amberol self watering containers are a popular choice with many council parks departments, businesses and organisations and Saltburn is no different. The town makes good use of the self watering containers and appreciates their eco friendly properties. “Our self watering containers help us to save time and water which despite our temperate climate can be quite an important issue for us,” explains Jackie. “Not only do they save on maintenance, but they also look attractive. We carry out fundraising activities every year so we can purchase more and add to our collection.”
Three phrases that Saltburn in Bloom uses to describe Amberol products:
1. Environmentally friendly
2. Good value
Jackie has high praise for both Amberol’s products and the company itself. “Amberol really do offer outstanding service and are always ready to help. For example, we had a problem with our planters because we put ordinary soil into the bottom of the large planters which meant that the water didn’t reach plants at the top of the container. A member of Amberol staff immediately came out and advised us on how to tackle the problem. That’s real customer service.”
Saltburn in Bloom anticipates continuing to use Amberol products for the long term and would happily recommend both the company and its products to other organisations. “Amberol’s products are both attractive and functional. They also save us so much time on watering. Not only that, but I have always found the staff at Amberol to be courteous and helpful. They are always available to offer advice, which is invaluable to a small group such as ours. It is good to know that they offer a high standard of service to their smaller customers and not just the big spenders.”
To find out more about how Amberol’s products can help you, visit our website at www.amberol.co.uk, call 01773 830 930 or email email@example.com.
Westminster City Council praise Amberol bins for design and price
Westminster City Council is situated in the heart of London and its boundary includes many well known sites of national and international interest such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. The borough is the hub of government and home to some of the capital’s busiest commercial and shopping areas. As such, Westminster is popular with tourists and has around 1.3 million visitors each day. Measuring only 4 square miles, the council boundary includes around 121,000 households with a wide cultural, social and ethnic demographic. An estimated 89% of the population live in flats.
With so many visitors to the area, combined with the density of population, Westminster City Council faces a significant challenge in keeping its streets and parks free from litter. The council has been using Amberol bins since 1995, which is a tribute to the quality and value for money that Amberol products offer, as the council has a competitive procurement policy to ensure the best deal for residents. The Amberol products used include their standard litter bin as well as the Westminster hooded bin and Olympic dual bin. The bins are used around the borough for the collection of general litter and items such as cigarette butts, as well as recyclable materials. All Amberol bins are made from recyclable polyethylene and have fie retardant inner liners. Their standard bins have a slam lock mechanism to prevent litter escaping and to reduce the possibility of deliberate littering.
“We have been using Amberol products since I joined the council in 2001,” comments Phil Robson, the council’s Supplier Relationship Manager (Waste and Recycling). “We have been happy to use the company for such a significant period of time because their range of bins is extensive. The products we use are well designed and fully meet our needs – and the pricing is reasonable too, ensuring value for money.”
Westminster, like all local authorities, has strict targets for recycling as part of their commitment to reducing the carbon footprint. The ‘On the Go’ recycling initiative has been implemented in Westminster as an instrumental part of the strategy to fulfil this commitment. The initiative has extended recycling beyond the home and has seen recycling bins placed in litter hotspots in public areas, with the Amberol bins playing a significant role in the success of the initiative. In fact, the Olympic dual bin, which has a combined waste and recycling capacity of 180 litres, was designed to facilitate their need for a combined recycling and general waste collection. The bin also includes two stubber plates and ash collectors to help on street smokers to dispose of cigarette ends.
“Amberol developed a bin to support our recycling ‘On the Go’ initiative which enabled our visitors and residents to recycle products not just in the home, but also on the streets and in the city parks,” explains Phil. “Diversion from incineration of collected street litter recyclables is over 40% in most areas of the borough, but the biggest success has been the sections for stubbing and collecting the cigarette butts. The bin has brought a noticeable improvement to street cleanliness standards in the areas where they have been installed.”
The green and black bins are split into two sections: green for recyclable materials such as plastic bottles, newspapers, glass and cans, with the black section designed for items for incineration. “This has enabled us to substantially increase the amount of rubbish we were able to recycle,” adds Phil. In fact, Westminster was able to recycle in the region of an impressive 2,400 tonnes in 2010 from litter recycling bins alone.
Three words that Westminster City Council use to describe Amberol’s products:
Fit for purpose!
“I am happy to recommend Amberol products to other organisations. The company has served Westminster City Council well; they have high quality products that work, and at competitive prices,” concludes Phil.
Amberol’s service ‘second to none’ says the city of Nottingham
The city of Nottingham is home to around 286,000 people. With two universities and a steadily rising poulation, the city has a relatively high proportion of young adults making up a diverse and vibrant community. Around 23% of the populace come from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Whilst there is good cohesion, as an urban area, the city does have some socio economic challenges and is ranked the 13th most deprived local authority area in England (using the Index of Multiple Deprivation, 2007).
A commitment to the environment
Nottingham City Council is firmly committed to maintaining floral displays within the city as much as budget allows. The Parks and Open Spaces team, part of the Communities Department, comprises 170 staff employed in a variety of roles from allotments to bio-diversity officer. The team looks after 136 parks and gardens across the city. These range from large tourist attractions such as the impressive Arboretum, through to the smaller neighbourhood parks. The team aim to offer a wide range of quality attractions to entice visitors to the city.
Nottingham also has a proud history of success in Britain in Bloom, having won the East Midlands in Bloom title 18 times and Britain in Bloom 4 times, achieving Britain in Bloom Champion of Champions in 2008. .
With such a strong commitment to maintaining the communal environment, the department need to use products that are cost effective and robust. Nottingham City Council has a long history of working with Amberol. They use a range of Amberol’s products, including self watering planters, barrier baskets, hanging baskets, beehive planters and three tier pagoda planters. “Our business relationship with Amberol has flourished over many years,” comments Glenn Springthorpe, Nursery Manager. “We use Amberol’s products to enhance the environment with floral displays, both within the city centre and in the city’s neighbourhoods.”
Effective, practical and aesthetically pleasing
Amberol products feature heavily on the Britain in Bloom route, providing a backdrop for the council to showcase its horticultural excellence. “Amberol’s containers and planters are effective and practical, as well as being aesthetically pleasing,” comments Glenn. “They are very durable; we have had some units many years and they are still serviceable. The products are easy to fill with plants and easy to get in position. Amberol also offer bespoke options and advice on how fittings can be adapted to use with existing units.”
Glenn and the team feel that using Amberol’s self watering products is a cost effective move. “The containers help to save time and money which would otherwise be spent watering the displays. The water reservoirs are essential in ensuring that we can maintain a high quality of floral displays in spite of extreme temperatures. In fact, some units are only watered two or three times a week, even in the hottest weather. They also save on water consumption when compared to normal hanging baskets.”
The benefits of good floral displays in urban areas are multitude, as Glenn explains. “As well as helping the city to gain prestige through competitions such as Britain in Bloom, floral displays also bring a ‘feel good factor’ to the city, creating an attractive, pleasing environment which people want to visit – and return to. We feel they are a contributory factor in boosting tourism and helping to support our retail offer.”
The council also regularly receive positive feedback from residents, demonstrating the pride and pleasure that people get from the displays. One such local resident, Patricia Clements says “Just wanted to say how much the plant baskets along the railings at Basford Crossings have affected the feel of the area in a very positive way this summer. I am pleased to see that they have remained intact over the period and I wonder if anti-social incidents have reduced as a result of it looking as if someone has cared for the environment? Thank you very much for the pleasure they have given me.”
Three words that Nottingham City Council use to describe Amberol products:
“Amberol offer excellent customer service; they are a very friendly and efficient company who strive to build personal relationships with their customers and are always prepared to go the extra mile,” comments Glenn. “The standard of service we have received from Amberol has been second to none. They always deliver on time and are prepared to create bespoke solutions to meet challenging issues. We know we can rely on Amberol to deliver a prompt and efficient service.”
To find out more about how Amberol’s products can help you, visit our website at www.amberol.co.uk, call 01773 830 930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.