What an honour to become UK finalists
Given that we only began organising Altrincham's Britain In Bloom entry in 2014, it is astounding how far we've come and how fast. What started out as a project for Altrincham Community Team became a project for Our Altrincham and is now a fully fledged Community Interest Company run entirely by volunteers. Sarah Walmsley is our Chairman; Hazel Roberts is our Treasurer; Val Hutchinson is Project Leader for the Four Seasons Walkway and Bev Robinson is now Project Leader for our Shaw's Green 'Food for Thought' project. We share responsibility for all other projects but will soon announce a Project Leader for our new Schools Competition which is due to launch in the New Year.
We began in 2014 with just a handful of people involved but now have a small but steadily growing number of horticultural volunteers supported by a committee of 16 people including representatives from Altrincham News, Altrincham & Bowdon Civic Society, Trafford Council and Altrincham Unlimited. If anyone is interested in joining us or offering a contribution to Altrincham's entry in terms of skills or a project, please don't hesitate to contact us!
Andy, Chris and Jo from the Altrincham News team have helped primarily this year with planter signage, judging visits and administrative/research tasks. Fantastic photographic work continues to be done by Graham Douglas (Grey Dog Photography) who will also be blogging very soon. David Waddell has supported us by recording some amazing aerial photography and video and our website has been expertly crafted by Jacinta Russell and the team from Made in Cheshire. Jacinta is also doing some event design work and Jo Cushing designed our Blooming Gorgeous bags as well as coordinating the tremendously successful 'Hidden Altrincham' arts festival. Our Altrincham continue to lead the way with town cleaning initiatives and we are working closely with Altrincham Unlimited (our BID company) on a wide range of projects from fundraising to recycling bins and barrier planters. All of our work is supported by Trafford Council and their environmental services contractor, Amey plc. The public/private partnership is known as One Trafford.
As virtually all of our volunteers are working people, our biggest challenge is lack of time but funding comes in a pretty close second. We have had to work very hard all year round to finance our various projects and often struggle without premises or dedicated support. We do now have a garage for storage but in order to progress, we really need a van which we can fit and on-board water bowser into. More growing space would be handy too!
We hold a number of fundraising events throughout the year and are about to launch our 'Friends of Altrincham In Bloom' scheme whereby residents can show their support for a minimum donation of £5 per year. Following that, we will be launching a tiered corporate sponsorship scheme so that businesses can benefit from enhanced community profile.
We are delighted to have inspired the creation of new 'In Bloom' groups across Trafford - Timperley In Bloom, Stretford In Bloom and very recently, Urmston In Bloom - and look forward to supporting them in whatever ways we can.
To hear about our achievements to date, please see here
We look forward to the Britain In Bloom finalist awards on October 27th and also the North West In Bloom awards on November 3rd. Onwards and upwards!