Welcome to
Northumbria in Bloom
How to Enter

Encouraging community groups to enhance their local environment by gardening together

Northumbria in Bloom runs a campaign every year to recognise, encourage and reward community groups who work together to transform their village, town or city through gardening, environmental awareness and community support.


Our region runs from Berwick in the north, south west to the border with Cumbria, then along the border with North Yorkshire to the sea south of the Tees at Staithes.

transforming spaces
RHS Britain in Bloom
1600 groups
going since 1964
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What’s it all about?

Northumbria in Bloom runs a campaign every year to recognise, encourage and reward community groups who work together to transform their village, town or city through gardening, environmental awareness and community support.

We organise the competition into classes by size of community, from Small Village to Large City.  Urban Communities and Coastal Communities have classes of their own. Detailed information can be found in our Entrants’ Handbook.

Any group can enter – many are entirely volunteer-run, others are in partnership with their Local Authority. All of them see the benefits that horticulture and community support bring to everyone.

If your local community has not entered the Main Competition you may still be able to take part as a Stand Alone Special Entry. There are 13 categories from which to choose – more information can be
found under The Competitions, Special Entries.

The RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign is open to all volunteer groups in the region, not just in areas entering the main Bloom competition. It is non-competitive, free to enter and aimed at smaller community groups greening their local area. Further details are available under IYN Information. 

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Who can get involved?

Everyone!

Northumbria in Bloom is an inclusive campaign and any community, no matter how small or large, can get involved. To take part in Northumbria in Bloom you enter the category that corresponds to your size based on electoral roll or area. 

Alternatively you could enter a Special Entry category (such as a Park, School, Pub, Cemetery / Churchyard etc.) and for smaller groups such as community gardens you could enter our It’s Your Neighbourhood Campaign.

Any group can enter – many are entirely volunteer run, others are in partnership with their Local Authority. All of them see the benefits that horticulture and community support bring to everyone. We also award medals to a wide variety of Special Entries, for example Schools, Parks, Pubs, Allotments; all the information on these categories and many more is available under Special Entries.

The RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign is open to all volunteer groups in the region, not just in areas entering the main Bloom competition. It is non-competitive, free to enter and aimed at smaller, community groups greening their local area. Further details are available under IYN Information. 

From a Small Village to a City Centre.  

Up to 18 categories to choose from including, schools, parks, and hotels.

Smaller groups such as community gardening projects.

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Judges & Awards

Our judges are all volunteers and will visit you twice during the year, once in April and again in July. These are your opportunities to ‘show off’ your community. Following the summer visit the judges will write a feedback report and award a medal which will be presented to you at our annual Awards Event in September. Details of the judging and marking criteria can be found here, along with judging tour time allocations.

We also award medals to a wide variety of Special Entries, for example Schools, Parks, Pubs, Allotments; all the information on these categories and many more is available under Special Entries.

If you have problems or queries please contact us via the Contacts page

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Top Ten Tips for Entrants

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What is a Special Entry?

All of the communities who enter the Main Competition are encouraged to enter Specials, which are judged during the summer judging tour. They must be agreed with your judges beforehand – usually initial ideas are discussed during the spring tour and finalised by May 31st. There are 18 categories from which to choose (the full list is here) – you can enter up to 10 Specials in total, but only 1 per category. There is no extra fee for your Specials.

If your community is not entered into the Main Competition, or you are separate from a Main Entry, you can enter as a Stand Alone Special. Not all the categories are available as Stand Alones – your list is available here

 Each Stand Alone Special has an entry fee of £35.00 and the closing date for entries is May 31st. You will need to fill in the Stand Alone Entry Form, which includes payment details.

The marking and judging criteria are the same whether you enter through a Main Entry or you are a Stand Alone – click here for more information.

If you have problems or queries please contact our Entrants Co-ordinator Joanna Wood joannamfwood@gmail.com

How is your entry judged?

What is the focus of NIB?

Horticultural Achievement

Horticulture

assessing standards of gardening knowledge, skills and practice across the entire entry – 40%
Read more

Environmental Responsibility

Environment

Assessing standards of care, maintenance and improvement of the local environment across the entire entry – 30%
read more

Community Participation

Community

Assessing level of engagement of local people and ongoing sustainability of the campaign across the entire entry – 30%
Read More

Northumbria in Bloom is intended to be an enjoyable, positive experience. So get active, be proud of your community and encourage as many
participants as possible to join in. Above all, have FUN!

Participating communities are asked to focus their initiatives on three main areas:

  • Horticultural Achievement – (assessing standards of gardening knowledge, skills and practice across the entire entry) – 40%;
  • Environmental Responsibility – (assessing standards of care, maintenance and improvement of the local environment across the entire entry) – 30%;
  • Community Participation – (assessing level of engagement of local people and ongoing sustainability of the local campaign across the entire entry) – 30%.

This means “in Bloom” communities tackle everything from litter, graffiti and anti-social behaviour through to conservation, sustainability and improving horticultural standards, and that’s not to mention the positive impact on sense of place, community spirit and pride.

The Northumbria in Bloom Trustees and Judges are available to act as mentors for any of our entrants, so if you need help please contact us at: Jo Wood, Entries Co-ordinator:   joannamfwood@gmail.com 

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What are the benefits?

Communities that participate in Northumbria in Bloom benefit in a variety of ways but the most common benefits are:

  • Cleaner and greener surroundings
  • Creating a sense of community through improvement of public spaces and positive interaction between community members
  • An increase in civic pride and sense of community empowerment by engaging people in the improvement of their own community
  • Safer environments for the enjoyment of local people
  • Long term improvement for the environment by addressing issues such as sustainability, resource management, conservation, litter, graffiti etc.
  • Reduction in anti-social behaviour
  • Positive effect on the local economy such as increased commercial enterprise and increased tourism
  • Regeneration of run down and/or disadvantaged areas
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