It’s Your Neighbourhood
When you form an ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ group and begin work you should set your own goals which should be suited to your local needs – what follows below are ideas to help illustrate activities that are relevant to the scheme.
If you are a newly formed group, your first set of goals may relate to things such as forming a group, deciding on a project, consulting with the wider community and so on. Then as the work of the group progresses so should the goals with the focus being increasingly on getting jobs done that move the project from initial ideas and planning to actual delivery and results. Below are some suggestions.
As a group you have access to a variety of resources to support you and we strongly recommend you make use of those resources. Some of those resources are provided by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and can be accessed on line by visiting: www.rhs.org.uk/britaininbloom/GardeningInMyCommunity/Gardening_in_my_Community.html.
In addition, you also have access to the RHS’s team of gardening experts; simply send an e-mail with your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org put BiBNA in the subject line.
It’s Your Neighbourhood is part of the wider RHS Britain in Bloom initiative but it is not competitive; benchmarking levels are used to recognise and applaud the achievements of the participants as well as to provide them with some feedback and guidance for the future. The assessors are there as mentors and friends – not as judges – and you should take advantage of their visit to get constructive feedback. The assessors benchmark your achievements in the areas of the core pillars by considering how much the you have already done and how much more you could do given your unique circumstances.
Community participation is important and about working together for the benefit of the local area and community participation can also include fundraising, moral support, provision of facilities and resources, publicising activities and many other activities.
There are no size limits – a group is more than one and may involve children/young people; developing community gardening activities; providing refreshments, making leaflets/posters etc). In other words, groups will come in many sizes and have as many different structures; the key is that even if there are only one or two key players driving the project.
Examples of community participation are things such as:
Being inclusive –the group is a part of the community and has an openness which enables any other member of the community to support, contribute to or have say in their work if they wish. A group may have a specific “membership” (i.e. a young person’s group) and still be inclusive.
Being representative – the people involved with the group’s projects and activities are representative of the diversity of the people in their area.
Local ownership and direction – the decisions about what needs doing and how things are undertaken are taken by the community and the group at local level.
Making a difference to local people – it is clear that what is happening has the support of local people and is improving aspects of daily life in that area.
Partnership working – the group may also be working with any one or more of the following: Area Panels, Parish Councils, Neighbourhood Watch groups, Wildlife Watch groups, police/community support officers, residents’ associations, etc. as relevant.
Getting support – the group has succeeded in or is working towards getting the support of their local council or councillor and businesses in the community, finding sponsors or sponsorship-in-kind, securing grants or other funding, etc.
Evidence of planning for the future – the group has shown they are thinking about and planning for ways to maintain the work they have already done and/or make even more improvements.
Retaining local control – local people are involved with the planning and decision-making.
Communities in areas where there are issues with anti-social behaviour or similar problems may develop partnerships with local police and community support officers.
In communities where the issues may relate to the lack of routine interaction between people, your group should consider how you can use It’s Your Neighbourhood to create opportunities for interaction and to create a sense of community.
It does not matter what type of community participation takes place – only that it is positive and involves local people in the process of improving their area.
Examples of environmental responsibility are things such as:
Efforts to promote responsible dog-ownership and reduce dog-fouling.
Efforts to reduce littering, graffiti, flyposting and fly-tipping and efforts to clean up areas degraded by such activities.
Promotion of: peat-free compost, composting of green waste in community composting schemes, separation of waste in the local cemetery, minimising water wastage in plant containers, etc.#
Development of community green spaces, including the increased use of the spaces and developing the skills and involvement of users.
Conservation activities which may include promotion of wildlife through installation of bird boxes, bat boxes, planting of wildlife friendly plants, etc. where relevant/applicable.
Efforts to encourage a sense of local heritage through education and heritage-related projects/activities (i.e. tree trails, history leaflets, signage/interpretation boards etc.)
Examples of good gardening practices are things such as:
Good plant choices for the climate or soil, or which suit the heritage and local environment; balance of shrubs, perennials and annuals
Appropriate quality of maintenance – good pruning, mulching, lack of weeds, etc.
Creativity –the planting used for the area shows originality and local flavour.
Development of community gardening activities – developing areas in partnership with village halls, church groups, allotment societies, residents’ associations, etc. and/or undertaking group planting events for window boxes, hanging baskets, bulbs, wildflower areas, etc.
Taking on the maintenance of neglected areas such as barren verges or waste ground.
There is a total number of marks allocated to each section and the sections correspond to the 3 core pillars of It’s Your Neighbourhood. There are no sub-sections with allocated scores; the assessor evaluates the section as a whole.