RHS to honour flood victims

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom campaign will for the first time formally recognise the efforts of communities that have been flooded, with the creation of a new discretionary award for overcoming adversity.

 The announcement of this new award comes on the same day the RHS revealed the 72 RHS Britain in Bloom 2016 finalists. Judges will make their first visits to the finalists across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Jersey and Guernsey in August.

This award will celebrate the resilience of those who work year-round to put the Bloom back into their towns, villages and cities after such challenging circumstances, while recognising the impact of the recent catastrophic floods and other potential challenges that communities face throughout the campaign.

Groups including Aberdeen in Bloom, Kendal in Bloom, Dalston in Bloom and Corbridge in Bloom are among the communities hardest hit by the recent flooding. Many areas are still carrying out clean-up operations before preparations for Britain in Bloom can begin.

Visiting judges will hear how the groups have met these extreme challenges; judges will offer advice from their own experience and from their knowledge of areas that have been affected by extreme weather in the past. 

Roger Burnett, Chair of RHS Britain in Bloom Judges, said: "My advice to this year’s finalists would be to demonstrate how they have overcome the atrocious conditions we’ve seen in many parts of the country over the last couple of months. 

"Bloom groups are always very resilient when it comes to extreme weather and nature has a great way of bouncing back, so we all look forward to a meeting our finalists to see what wonderful work they are doing to bring their communities together under the banner of RHS Britain in Bloom."

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach, said: "This new award will celebrate the enormous efforts made by those Bloom community gardening groups who face extreme challenges, such as the devastating floods of recent months. It’s a tremendous achievement to reach the UK Finals of Bloom, and illustrates all of these groups’ impressive commitment to improving their local environment through joined-up community action."

Other RHS Discretionary Awards include the Young People’s Award, Conservation and Wildlife Award, and the Community Champion Award, which is awarded to individuals who demonstrate exceptional commitment and dedication to Britain in Bloom in their community. 

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