Step 4: Get support from your local community and let them know what is happening.
Announce that you are intending to put together an ‘in Bloom’ entry to celebrate how lovely your community already is or to improve its potential. Consider sending out a leaflet to all homes in the area, giving a talk to existing community or residents’ groups, creating a newsletter to tell the community what the group is planning to do or create a web site that could be an ideal project for a student. Seek residents’ opinions on how they think the area could be improved or how they could get involved. Hold an Open Evening and invite potential sponsors, local businesses, local groups and local Councillors to hear about the plans for the campaign and how they can get involved.
Put up posters in your local shops and supermarkets, in libraries, leisure and community centres, in church and village halls and on notice boards informing the community of future events. Ask local traders, businesses, pubs, hotels, Chamber of Trade, Licensed Victuallers etc to become involved. Some companies have a policy for volunteer days for staff which could help with community projects. Contact your local newspapers, radio and television, and give them details of how people can join in. Invite the editor or local reporter to one of your events, don’t forget the “What’s on“ guides on local radio and in the local press.
Involve the young people in your community. They may be able to ‘adopt a spot’, taking on the responsibility for its planting, cleanliness and maintenance. Ask if it would be possible to work in partnership with your local schools to tie in some of the work being done in your projects with their National Curriculum requirements e.g. in areas such as wildlife, conservation and citizenship. This will also help to promote an understanding of everyone’s responsibilities for our environment and the plants and animals within it.
It’s not all about flowers! Start a clean-up project to focus on areas that attract litter and graffiti and look into both soft and hard landscaping options.
Encourage your supporters to keep their own frontages neat and tidy, where possible using plants and shrubs to help you improve the whole area.
Promote sustainable planting (e.g. by recommending a range of plants, shrubs and trees that do not have to be watered daily and support wildlife habitats).
Carry out work on behalf of older residents and old peoples’ homes.
Create a competition (e.g. best kept front garden, best pub garden, best restaurant garden) – a bit of healthy rivalry will generate better results.