Council and local In Bloom groups winners in national Beautiful Scotland awards

Six ‘In Bloom’ groups from East Lothian have been recognised by environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, at a virtual Beautiful Scotland celebration and award ceremony.

Almost 50 entrants, from 17 local authority areas, were congratulated for their efforts to support and enhance their local communities, for the climate and for nature, at the online event.

Of the six entrants from East Lothian, Dunbar in Bloom and The Blooming Belters from Tranent, decided to enter a new non-judged category and received a Certificate of Recognition, while four entrants felt able to enter the competition at this challenging time.

The competition entrants were:

  • Gifford Community – Gold
  • North Berwick in Bloom – Gold
  • Blooming Haddington – Gold
  • Aberlady in Bloom – Silver Gilt

Thirteen discretionary awards were also up for grabs and two were won by East Lothian. Gifford Community scooped the New Entrant Award, and in addition, East Lothian Council took home the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society Award.  This award is presented to the local authority which demonstrates the highest standard of horticulture in public open spaces. East Lothian Council has developed a very close connection with its local bloom groups and the judges felt the quality of bedding plants and overwintered plants was great to see. It was presented virtually by Colin Ainsworth, President of The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

Many community cleaning and greening activities were curtailed during the pandemic and the volunteer judges were delighted to visit some of the inspiring groups across Scotland this summer after missing the judging tour in 2020.  This year, entrants were offered the opportunity to take part in either a judged, or a non-judged category. 

Run by the charity in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the initiative provides the opportunity for volunteers and groups to gain recognition for their efforts to protect and enhance their local places.

With 2021 being a big year for action on climate change and protecting biodiversity, the optional theme was ‘climate and nature friendly’ and all groups that registered to participate received free pollinator-friendly seeds to help create blooming beautiful and #BeeDiverse places.

Barry Fisher, Chief Executive with Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We’re in a climate and nature emergency, but we know that communities across Scotland have been working tirelessly to protect and enhance their neighbourhoods, reconnecting with the environment and their communities despite the challenges lockdowns have posed.

“Beautiful Scotland provides us with such a wonderful opportunity to recognise all the voluntary work being done, and to celebrate with, and thank everyone who is keeping Scotland beautiful.” 

“I’d like to thank the entrants from East Lothian for all they do, and I’d encourage others to get involved next year and tap into the network which offers a wealth of support.” 

East Lothian Provost, John McMillan, added: “I am always impressed with the collective efforts of volunteers groups, supported by our Local Amenities teams, across the county that do so much to brighten and enhance the local environment through innovative planting. It has perhaps been appreciated even more this year when people have been seeking more positive community initiatives after the challenges of the pandemic. I would like to add my congratulations to all involved and hope it inspires others to participate.”

Published: Thursday, 23rd September 2021