Derry to represent NI and defend title won last year at 'Britain in Bloom' Awards

Thu, 30/01/2014 - 14:11 -- Editor

Derry-Londonderry has been selected to represent Northern Ireland in the “Small City” category, in the national finals of the UK Britain in Bloom 2014 Awards.

Led by the Royal Horticultural Society, Britain in Bloom encourages local communities across the UK and Ulster to volunteer to make their city’s cleaner and greener, and following previous success which has seen Derry achieving the Gold Award in the ‘Small City’ Category in 2013, the expectations are high.

Mayor Cllr Martin Reilly who recently hosted this year’s Britain in Bloom judging panel at a reception at the Guildhall, said there is no reason why the city cannot once again be triumphant and succeed at this national level due to the team of dedicated staff and volunteers involved in the initiative.

“Last year as the UK City of Culture we witnessed vast improvements in our cityscape both in terms of cleanliness and increase of horticultural displays, gaining national recognition by  achieving a Gold Award was made possible by the hard work of the team here on the ground.  Derry City Council’s Ground Maintenance and Street Cleansing section along with the hosts of volunteers who took to the streets to ensure floral displays were maintained in the city’s parks, roads and walkways did not go unnoticed.  The transformation seen across the city has been amazing and the feedback from both locals and international visitors was encouraging.     It is great that we take from the City of Culture year and look forward to 2014 with opportunities such as this to carry on the legacy and show case our beautiful city again and again on a national stage. I will offer them my continued support with this campaign.”

Winners of “Britain in Bloom” Awards will be announced at a ceremony in October of this year, a highly anticipated event involving over 300,000 people in the biggest community gardening campaign throughout UK and Ulster.  The winners are judged over this year at various times as the panel visit participating towns and cities scoring each on a comprehensive range of factors including recycling, waste management and appearance of public spaces.

Danny McCartney, Ground Manager at Derry City Council said: “The exceptional commitment to helping the environment, community engagement and horticultural excellence has again reached a level which allows us to compete with thousands of other cities.  It takes months of planning to ensure the city looks its best and yet this is only possible when the wider community gets involved offering their time and expertise in their own floral displays.  It is not only the streets that need cleaned,the presentation of all public and private buildings and associated grounds along arterial routes into the city centre are vitally important and have been greatly improved over the last few years across both the Waterside and City side I would encourage all to add a  floral display where possible this year as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the theme this year is “Growing for Gold”.

I am so proud to be a part of this year’s event again and for the opportunity to showcase our City at this year’s Britain in Bloom competition which will recognise the hard working staff and create a prolonged sense of pride throughout the wider community in 2014.

I want to thank my dedicated team at Derry City Council and all those who participated on the judging day whose help and support in the overall Pride in Our City campaign has led us to the national level again.  I know the team will work hard to maintain the exceptional standards from 2013 in order to retain the Gold Award again in 2014.”