Blooming result for villagers following first garden competition entry
Published by Kelly Elliott for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities
Tenants of Magdalene Court in Medomsley with their Silver Northumbria in Bloom award, pictured with staff from Derwentside Homes and the social enterprise SHED, which both supported the tenants’ efforts.
Villagers in County Durham have proved their green-fingered credentials after coming away from a prestigious gardening competition with a host of awards, despite this being the first year they have entered.
The residents of Medomsley came up with the idea of entering Northumbria in Bloom earlier this year and set about galvanizing support for the project, with villagers of all ages agreeing to take part. A grant was then provided through the local Councillors.
The villagers’ efforts were rewarded after receiving awards in five different categories. The village as a whole was awarded Bronze in the Villages section, resident Jason Turner won Silver Gilt in the Front Garden category, Hassockfield Secure Training Centre was awarded Silver Gilt in the Commercial Premises category, the Royal Oak pub bagged Bronze in the Public Houses and Hotels category and Magdalene Court was awarded Silver in the Grounds of Residential Homes section. The local school also entered the Schools section and was awarded a Silver medal.
The result has been welcomed by everyone involved, especially Ann English, who has been the driving force behind the project.
Ann, who has lived in Medomsley for 14 years and is member of the Residents Association, said: “We started putting planters around the village last year for the Jubilee celebrations and everyone was really keen so when our local Councillors offered to provide funding we decided to go for the Northumbria in Bloom competition.
“Our aim was to get as many people, of all ages, involved and we used local companies whenever we could. We were so pleased with the response and the results”
Among those supporting the horticultural effort were tenants of Magdalene Court - an independent living scheme for the over 55 in the village which is owned by Derwentside Homes.
A group of five tenants, most of who are in their 70s, spent much of their spare time planting and tending to flowers in the grounds of the court, which was completely refurbished two years ago.
Tenant Gordon Brass said: “When we heard about the competition we really wanted to do our bit and make the court look as good as possible.
“There is a great community spirit here and people are always keen to join in and support things in the village so a big group of tenants started donating 50p a week to buy flowers and a group of us carried out the work.”
The tenants received help from social enterprise project SHED (Social Housing Enterprise Durham), which provides a home improvement and gardening service, with members of the SHED team cutting the court’s large lawns. Derwentside Homes also donated money towards the project.
Northumbria in Bloom is the voluntary regional organisation that administers the Britain in Bloom competition in Northumberland, Durham, Tyne & Wear and Teesside.
The aim of the competition is to improve the environment for local residents, encourage tourism and businesses to the region and develop community spirit and pride in the local environment.