Blooming brilliant news – Exeter receives Gold in South West in Bloom
Organisers are celebrating after it was revealed that Exeter has achieved a Gold in the South West in Bloom Awards.
South West in Bloom is one of eighteen regional/national competitions that make up Britain in Bloom, the biggest horticultural campaign in Europe.
The aim of the communities that take part each year is to improve and regenerate their local environment, through the imaginative planting of trees, shrubs, flowers and landscaping, conservation and recycling projects, and to sweep away the eyesores that blight our streets, such as litter, graffiti and vandalism.
On awarding the Gold Award for InExeter, the Business Improvement District for the city centre, the judges said: “A very strong entry, clean, well maintained, attractive and pleasant to walk through. The commitment of businesses within the BID, as well as the drive and passion of the BID team was well evidenced.”
InExeter is dedicated to supporting and championing local businesses, including investing in streetscape and public realm improvements, to draw communities together and bring people to the city.
This is the second time InExeter have entered South West in Bloom, receiving a Silver Gilt in 2021. Ann Hunter, BID Manager said: “We are delighted to receive a Gold Award this year. Urban biodiversity has been a big focus for us at InExeter and it is wonderful that we have been recognised for the continued improvements we are making to Exeter.”
InExeter are constantly striving to make Exeter a greener, city, with more planters, baskets and flower beds being nurtured every year. The planting and landscaping at InExeter is overseen by Mattie Richardson, Projects Manager.
Over 140 hanging baskets are funded across the city. They are planted for summer and winter and are maintained by Boyces, a local family run Nursery on the outskirts of Exeter. The judges commented: “Floral displays in all areas were colourful and well maintained. Good use of colour, in both planters and hanging baskets helped to enhance the very busy streetscape of the city centre.”
InExeter further funds the planting and maintenance of three flower beds, two seated planters and four portable planters. Additional planting was also carried out in Sidwell Street through a grant application through the Welcome Back Fund organised by InExeter who delivered 14 square metres of planters along the street which have flourished into mini cottage garden flower beds in the heart of the city. This planting helped to encourage dwell time in the cafes, restaurants and shops and softened the cityscape.
An additional grant was successfully applied for from the Community Sparks Fund which was part of the Safer Streets 2 Fund which provided barrier baskets for planting for North Street. Both grants meant InExeter was able to activate new areas of the city with planting, further improving the districts.
The South West in Bloom judges visited Exeter in July this year and undertook a 2 hour tour around the city which was undertaken by Mattie Richardson alongside Nick Mead, Commercial and Operations Manager at Exeter City Council. Upon hearing the news of the award.
Nick said: “This is a phenomenal result for the city which serves to highlight the outstanding efforts of all collaborative partners who worked closely together to achieve this. A huge amount of effort was put in by all leading up to the judging, with Exeter looking impressive on the day. Many thanks to all who were involved.”
The tour included working with many of the BID community in including St Sidwell’s Centre, The Ivy, St Sidwell’s Point, The Guildhall Shopping Centre and Princesshay Shopping Centre plus visiting Northernhay Gardens where the judges were told about its history and horticulture.
The judges commented: “Northernhay gardens were neat and tidy, the small team of gardeners here should be congratulated on keeping a busy inner-city park in top condition.”