In 2018 Congleton in Bloom will be celebrating 20 years of work to improve Congleton. The team started with a small, dedicated band of volunteers who were determined to do something to brighten up the town. Over the years more areas have been improved, the numbers of people involved has blossomed and Congleton has gained a great reputation as a floral town.
In the past four years the town has won North West in Bloom three times – 2013, 2015 and 2016 – and has represented the North West in Britain in Bloom in 2014 and 2016. Now the group is urging local people to pull out all the stops and help the team to win again in 2017 and get back into the Britain in Bloom nationals in 2018.
A recent survey carried out by Congleton in Bloom found that 99% of respondents were aware of Congleton in Bloom and 90% were aware that the team has won North West in Bloom in 2016. 70% of the 185 that answered thought that the Congleton in Bloom campaign was very worthwhile and a further 19% thought it was worthwhile. 6% had no opinion and 5% thought it was not a good use of time and resources. 22% of those responding had helped with Congleton In Bloom is some way – mainly litter picking or bulb planting.
Over the winter months there has been a number of projects carried out by groups and organisations to help to create a cleaner, greener town. These include Congleton Partnership adding new trees and planters on Mountbatten Way and working with Ansa on an improved Moody Street Garden, Congleton’s Streetscape Team clearing and tidying St Peter’s Cemetery, hedge cutting and pruning along many pathways, and volunteers and others clearing along the canal, bulb planting resulting in lots more crocuses and daffodils this year. Other improvements include new cherry trees planted by Congleton Lions, new signage added for play parks, a secret garden created at the Old Saw Mill and work on the saved Vale Allotments by the Congleton Green Spaces Trust.
As regional winners, three members of the Congleton in Bloom team – Cllr David Brown, Cllr Bob Edwards and Patti Pinto were asked to speak at the East Midlands in Bloom conference and enjoyed sharing information and learning how other towns approach in Bloom. Congleton has now approached North West in Bloom about holding similar event for North West in Bloom groups.
With Spring having sprung, now a lot of the hard work in the gardens, parks and open spaces really begins. Congleton Town Council’s Streetscape staff work hard to keep the town clean, the public bins emptied, the public spaces and roundabout looking great – but there are only 13 of them and a town of nearly 28 thousand!
Chairman of Congleton in Bloom, Cllr David Brown, said: “The In Bloom competitions have been a real force for good, generating a great deal of improvement and community pride in Congleton and in other towns. Over the past few years there has been an amazing amount of support from local communities, businesses, schools, local groups and individuals to make our town look as good as it possibly can. Whole areas have been improved and we really need that ground swell of help again this year if we are going to stand any chance of lifting the title. ”
In addition to the main in Bloom team the town also benefits from the work of sister organisation Buglawton in Bloom which is celebrating 14 years and other It’s Your Neighbourhood groups at Bromley Farm, New Life Church, Hilary Avenue Allotments, Heathview Care Home and Congleton Bath House and Physic Garden. In addition there are many individuals who have been given litter pickers over the years and quietly maintain small areas near their homes.
The next opportunity to help with In Bloom is Saturday 25th March from 10 – 12 when the team will be supporting the Great British Spring Clean. Anyone wishing to join in should meet in Congleton Park near the Pavilion. All equipment will be provided – just come dressed for the weather! This will be the first in a series of town tidies in various areas around Congleton being organised over the next few months.
If anyone is interested in organising a regular or a one-off clean team to improve an area in and around Congleton, Congleton Town Council is happy to loan equipment free of charge and collect the bags of waste collected from an agreed point following the tidy up. For more information contact Ruth Burgess, Streetscape Development Manager, on 01260 270350 ext 2.