Welton will be covered in red, white and blue florals this summer in celebration of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as part of their East Midlands in Bloom competition entry for 2022. East Midlands in Bloom is an annual competition organised by the EMiB Regional Committee and is one of the 18 regions/nations which comprise ‘Britain in Bloom’, the campaign organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
RHS Britain in Bloom is the largest horticultural campaign in the UK and was first held in 1964 inspired by Roy Hay MBE who visited France as a horticultural journalist in 1963. He discovered the ‘Fleurissement De France’ and was amazed by the blooming flowers, shrubs and trees. He discovered that the French Tourist Authority were working towards bringing more floral colours to areas of France, so upon returning to the UK, Roy contacted the British Tourist Authority about beautifying Britain, and so Britain in Bloom was born.
The aims of this nationwide campaign are to encourage local communities to improve and care for their local environment through the imaginative planting of trees, shrubs and flowers, to partake in conservation and recycling projects and to eliminate eyesores that blight our streets such as litter, graffiti and vandalism.
Britain in Bloom is not all about pretty villages. It is the UK’s biggest voluntary campaign and is a way of helping build stronger communities by creating cleaner and greener surroundings, regenerating rundown areas, and creating happier, safer environments. One of the largest benefits to Britain in Bloom is the community spirit and togetherness it generates; loneliness is a huge burden on our older generation, and this campaign offers an opportunity to make friends and know your neighbours whilst creating something beautiful together.
Wider benefits can include increased visitor numbers, a stronger sense of pride of place, a higher environmental awareness and new partnerships between local authorities, businesses and community groups. For those who choose to take part, benefits also include less stress as ‘green exercise’ activities like gardening can help reduce anxiety levels and improve mental wellbeing, a chance to gain new knowledge such as how to grow fresh tasty food and how to support wildlife, as well as taking the chance to explore new areas of your community.
This is not the first time that Welton has taken part in East Midlands in Bloom; their first ever attempt at the competition in 2019 saw them achieve silver. Julie Murray, Clerk to Welton-by-Lincoln Parish Council, explained how it felt to achieve such a prestigious award, “It was amazing! We used to enter the Best Kept Village competition and we decided to enter East Midlands in Bloom – I’d taken on a new deputy clerk at that time, and she’d done it previously, so we had somebody who had some experience of taking part in that competition which was a bonus! Although we did previously achieve second and third place in the Best Kept Village competition, we never actually won it, so we thought well why not try with this competition?!”
This year, Welton are back to showcase their beautiful village and hope to come away with yet another award. “This year with the Platinum Jubilee we are going to do our floral displays in a red, white and blue theme” Julie explains, “and we have got a small group of volunteers from the community who are getting involved with us as well – we have the primary school on board as well as a few smaller community groups around the village.”
In mid-July, judges from East Midlands in Bloom will visit Welton and view the display across the village. “You get 2 hours in which to take the judges around a route, and this year we are introducing some QR boards.” Julie explains, “It’s going to be called ‘Welton Sites of Interest’ and we have got various sites across the village that the boards will be placed. QR codes on each board will tell the story about the place you are, as well as show photographs and a map.” The QR boards aren’t the only addition to this year’s entry, they are also doing a ‘Wacky Planter Competition’ which will also help to plan the route.
A lot of hard work goes into planning events such as these, and the team have been developing ideas since last year. Places are required to prepare a portfolio to go alongside their entry, so ensuring that photographs are taken all year round from different events in the village massively helps in creating their plan.
We are now heading towards the final preparation stages, with the physical planting and transformation to occur. To ensure projects like this can be completed to a high standard, the community pulling together is always hugely appreciated. “If anybody wants to join our small volunteer group and are willing to get involved, that would be great!” says Julie, “If you would like to contact either myself or Louise at the Parish office then we can take your details and let you know what help we need.” If you would like to get involved in this year’s Welton in Bloom or find out more, you can email Louise Gibbs or Julie Murray at email@example.com or call 01673 860336