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  • Lyndsey

The Friendly BenchⓇ brings RHS success to our Network Members

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

It is a huge understatement to express how challenging the last two years have been for us all, however despite that, there have been some truly incredible achievements and two of those who have excelled are our The Friendly BenchⓇ Network Members Halesowen BID and Brandon in Bloom.

Despite the difficulties with social distancing and global supply chain issues with planting, both groups not only successfully entered their The Friendly BenchⓇ in their Royal Horticultural Society in Bloom bids, they both won coveted RHS Britain in Bloom awards.

Halesowen BID, who’s The Friendly BenchⓇ was installed in the heart of their town in Halesowen in June this year, work closely with Halesowen In Bloom who entered The Friendly Bench as part of their bid for the RHS Heart of England in Bloom competition. The result of which was a Gold win in the Urban Community Category.

Eve O’Connor (pictured above) from Halesowen in Bloom said, “We scored a whopping 95% up 4% from 2019 entry and we are in no doubt that the addition of The Friendly BenchⓇ contributed to this achievement, it has been a delightful addition to our community and used as a hub for many of our local community groups and proudly maintained by our volunteers.” RHS judges’ Joe Hayden and Nicola Clarke said, “Halesowen in Bloom continues to create a splendid show of colourful plantings across the whole town, and continues to encourage and empower local communities, organisations, and businesses to get involved to make the town “Bloomin lovely”. Despite the challenges of Covid the portfolio gives a very comprehensive and detailed update into the activities and success stories that have taken place in and around the town. Halesowen in Bloom has ably demonstrated their efforts and endeavours are definitely of GOLD standard. Very well done to everyone involved!”

Brandon in Bloom in Suffolk also had some incredible wins, achieving an Outstanding for the category of ‘Planting with Purpose’ Award for Creatively using plants to address community challenges. Not only that, they also scooped a Silver Gilt in RHS Anglia in Bloom competition and a ‘Highly Commended’ award for Nature Friendly Gardening for the work they have done on their theme ‘Plight of the Pollinator’.

Added to these incredible wins, despite The Friendly BenchⓇ being installed on Bury Road, Brandon on the actual day of RHS in Bloom competition deadline, our brilliant and newest The Friendly Bench Network members sent in their entry for The Friendly BenchⓇ (with only two minutes to spare on the cut off time) the result of which an ‘Achievement’ awards for ‘Cultivating your Community’ award.

The feedback received from the RHS was equally as brilliant, with the RHS keen to be kept informed as to how The Friendly BenchⓇ project progresses, it’s effectiveness and the ongoing impact it’ll have on their community. They also expressed their confidence that The Friendly BenchⓇ project would success assist and combat loneliness and social isolation and are keen to share this with their RHS in Bloom community.

Brandon in Bloom’s and The Friendly BenchⓇ Brandon group lead Rachel Sobiechowski simply said, Massive thank you and congratulations to everyone that participated, or supported the work by Brandon in Bloom”

We are truly thrilled of these achievements by our The Friendly Bench Network Members and so proud that The Friendly BenchⓇ is part of their success. These awards are a true testament to the hard work that our members put into their community and also a superb endorsement for The Friendly BenchⓇ and our aims of helping reconnect communities through nature, friendship and collaboration.

If you are an RHS in Bloom group and would like to find out more about joining our The Friendly Bench network please head over to our Join Us page where you will find everything you need to know

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