By Ian Dipple 23/07 Updated: 23/07 23:03
REDDITCH was looking its blooming best as the town bids for gold again in this year's Heart of England In Bloom contest.
Judges were given a tour of the borough last Friday (July 20) to see for themselves the hard work carried out all year round by the team from Redditch Borough Council and the community.
After a presentation at the Palace Theatre the judges were taken on a walk through the town centre before visiting the team at Where Next Association and Forge Mill to see the restoration work on the Bordesley Abbey site. They also learnt more about a project to create an outdoor classroom area at St Stephen's First School and a community education scheme at Winyates Green Allotments.
Other work highlighted to the judges included the Diamond Jubilee flower bed at the railway station, wildflower seed planting with children from Feckenham First School and orchard planting in Astwood Bank.
But the contest, part of Britain In Bloom, does not just focus on floral displays and the Redditch bid team are hoping work done with the community to carry out litter picks and encourage people to clean-up their area as well as the installation of solar panels on some of the council's buildings and the scheme to convert waste energy from the crematorium to heat the new Abbey Stadium, impressed the judges.
The borough council does not allocate specific funds to the In Bloom bid, instead it forms part of the normal landscaping budget and is supported by sponsorship from a number of town businesses.
Last year Redditch won gold in the small city category and Chris Franklin, landscape and grounds maintenance officer at the council, said he hoped they could retain that status.
"It's been more of a challenge this year because of the weather so if we could retain what we had last year then it would be an even bigger achievement," he added.
Judge Nicola Clarke said she was particularly impressed with the community art scheme introduced to prevent vandalism of bus shelters, which she labelled 'outstanding'.
"It's always a pleasure to be back in Redditch and see the improvements and the hard work done by the team and the community to help make Redditch a better place to live."
Redditch will find out in September if it has been successful.
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