Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, met up with members of the Britain in Bloom judging panel who were visiting Newcastle as part of this year’s competition.
Newcastle is competing in the Small Coastal Town category of the competition and it is hoped that the town will improve on last year’s achievement of the Silver Gilt award.
The judges were taken on a tour designed to showcase the town’s horticultural achievement, but also to reflect the tremendous community participation and respect for the environment that exists through the work of so many groups in the town.
Councillor Mulgrew said: “After last year’s Silver Gilt award the Council and residents have worked hard to continue to make Newcastle a beautiful place to live, work and visit. We hope the judges will enjoy seeing its natural beauty and be impressed by some of the great work carried out by groups such as Ark Community Gardens, Unit T and Autism Initiatives NI.
“I hope that when the results are announced at the Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Llandudno, North Wales on 27 October, Newcastle will be celebrating a Gold award”.
Andrea Van-Sittart, Royal Horticultural Society Head of Community Outreach said: “The Britain in Bloom judging gives groups the chance to showcase all the wonderful work that they do, all year round”.
“Over the past year alone, our national finalists have planted over a million trees, shrubs, bulbs and other plants, making places greener and more sustainable, and providing areas for the whole community to relax and enjoy. I wish all of this year’s finalists the very best of luck.”
The Britain in Bloom competition is one of Europe’s largest horticultural campaigns and has been running since 1964. More than 1,600 cities, towns, villages and urban communities take part each year and only 80 reach the UK finals.
The judges are not only looking for horticultural excellence but will also wish to see evidence of environmental responsibility and community participation. Where problem areas exist such as vacant premises, plots or eyesores they will look to see what plans are in place to address these.
To be successful in Britain in Bloom requires a year-round programme of activity to improve, enhance and maintain the local environment and get the community actively engaged in keeping things at their best. Judges will therefore want to see evidence of a programme of work that continues long after their tour has ended.