‘making a visible difference’

Britain in Bloom 2016 – Greening Grey Britain

Britain in Bloom 2016 – Greening Grey Britain

As spring slowly approaches, the thoughts of thousands of people across the UK turn to the annual Britain in Bloom competition. This year’s competition is promoting the Royal Horticultural Society’s three year campaign to transform nondescript grey areas by creating more green places.

As part of the 2016 theme of ‘Greening Grey Britain for Health and Happiness’, the RHS is encouraging people to focus on how gardens and green spaces can support general wellbeing. Studies have shown that just viewing a green space through a window can relax people and reduce stress levels, whilst active participation in gardening tasks such as planting and weeding has even more benefits.

As a long running community initiative involving thousands of volunteers as well as local authorities, businesses, schools and charities, Britain in Bloom has a strong social aspect, improving relationships and interactions within communities of all sizes. It is believed that people with strong social networks have an increased life expectancy and a greater resilience to stress.

RHS suggest that Britain in Bloom groups get involved by co-ordinating a greening project to improve health or wellbeing in the wider community. Groups are encouraged to commence their greening projects as part of the competition launch during National Gardening Week which runs from 11th - 17th April. The RHS is offering support to launch initiatives in the form of branded resources, including posters and press release templates.

In addition, the RHS Community Outreach team will be offering support to a number of groups by training new gardeners, helping to organise events, deliver workshops and attract volunteers. The RHS is offering up to £500 worth of materials for suitable projects. Successful applications should demonstrate how horticulture can promote health or happiness in the wider community with projects completed between April - September 2016.

Amberol’s self-watering containers are used to great effect by Britain in Bloom groups and local authorities to bring colour to grey areas across the UK. Managing Director Patience Atkinson-Gregory wholeheartedly supports this year’s theme. “At a time when housebuilding is a major priority for the government, it’s important to both preserve the green spaces that we have and to create more in public areas and domestic spaces. It’s great that the RHS has chosen to promote this issue.”

Click here to read more about the initiative in the RHS report Greening Grey Britain.