Cranleigh in Bloom Prize Giving Tea Party 2018
Good afternoon, and a very warm welcome to Cranleigh Arts Centre for the 2018 Cranleigh in Bloom Prize Giving Tea Party.
I’m Martin Bamford, chairman of Cranleigh in Bloom.
Thank you all for coming along this afternoon. It’s great to see so many people who care passionately about our village, all coming together to celebrate what we’ve collectively achieved this year.
Before we present certificates to the participants in Cranleigh in Bloom this year, I would like to share with you a brief reminder of the purpose of Cranleigh in Bloom, a review of the activities we’ve undertaken this year, and news from the South & South East in Bloom Awards 2018 which took place on Friday.
Cranleigh in Bloom is a voluntary community organisation with the goal of promoting civic pride, encouraging people to get involved in their community and bringing together various groups of people.
The initiative started in 2013 and each year we have built on the hard work of the previous years, gaining support from additional organisations.
Our first entry into South & South East in Bloom was in 2014, achieving a Silver Gilt standard. We took a break in 2015 entering again in 2016 where we were delighted to be awarded a Gold award and to win our overall category. We entered the South & South East in Bloom Awards again this year – more news on that shortly.
Our committee consists of individuals from a range of backgrounds and representing a variety of local organisations, including Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, Waverley Borough Council, Cranleigh Parish Council, Rotary Club of Cranleigh, local business owners and residents. This year we adopted a formal constitution, ensuring the long term prosperity of Cranleigh in Bloom as a volunteer led organisation.
I become Chairman of Cranleigh in Bloom in 2015, coming from the committee of the Chamber of Commerce which was originally involved in the establishment of the initiative. Once again this year, the support from our local business community has been incredible and make a real difference to the High Street at a time when retailers are faced with many economic challenges.
It’s worth stressing that this is an entirely voluntary organisation. We are a relatively small committee of volunteers, supported throughout the year by a larger army of volunteers and also our local authorities and local businesses.
Without you, Cranleigh in Bloom couldn’t possibly happen and I’m sure our village would be a much poorer place as a result.
From a financial perspective, we raise sponsorship each year which pays for the communal planting areas, hanging baskets for charity shops and general running of the organisation. A big thank you to those sponsors who generously gave money to Cranleigh in Bloom in 2018 to make this possible.
I want to give you a sense of the work Cranleigh in Bloom does each year. Here’s a brief review of the year to date and some of the diverse projects in which we’ve been involved.
Village Ponds – volunteers from Cranleigh in Bloom have continued this year to work with the Countryside Rangers at Waverley Borough Council to improve and restore our Village Ponds. Back in January, our volunteers helped with the creation of habitat log piles with wildflower blocks around the Eastern pond. This is designed to improve the habitat for amphibians.
Rowleys Centre for the Community – during the Spring, some of our volunteers helped to clear rubbish, clean the patio and remove old plants at Rowleys Centre for the Community. We also planted herbs in their raised bed and helped improve the floral displays there. The volunteers at Rowleys work very hard during the year to keep the flowers watered and well maintained.
Sunflowers – during the Cranleigh Community Showcase, we handed out packets of sunflower seeds and encouraged local children to plant these. We worked with Cranleigh Library to create an area to plant these sunflowers in the border next to the library. Local ladies running club, Cranleigh Sunflowers, also grew some sunflowers, a couple of which you can still see there!
Cranleigh Village Hospital – last year, we started to improve the neglected front garden at Cranleigh Village Hospital. This involved removing weeds, cutting back overgrowth and adding fresh compost, kindly donated by a local business. We’ve been adding donated plants throughout the year and one of our volunteers mows and edges the lawn each time he does his own! Coming soon is a brand new gate, made by the Men’s Sheds group which is based here at Cranleigh Arts Centre.
Cranleigh Rocks – at Easter, we launched a Facebook Group called Cranleigh Rocks, encouraging people to paint, hide and find painted pebbles around the village. This has been a massive success and we now have nearly 1,000 members taking part!
Wildflower area – last year, we started to create a wildflower area outside the public conveniences in Village Way, using wildflower turf kindly donated by Waverley Borough Council. This spring we added primroses and cowslips, along with some native wildflower seeds from the Kew Gardens Grow Wild initiative. Some of these seeds were also donated to Park Mead School to sow in their own Wildlife Garden.
Litter picking – we hate litter at Cranleigh in Bloom! So three times a year, we host a village-wide litter picking morning. Sadly, our Spring event in March had to be cancelled because of the heavy snow. But a week later we teamed up with a local Beaver colony and had 20+ small children picking litter from around Snoxhall and the Downs Link, ending up with six large bags full of rubbish.
We had another litter pick in early July and have one more on 10th November, the day before the Remembrance Sunday parade. Please let us know afterwards if you would like to take part – there’s tea, coffee and cake afterwards!
Centenary Garden – Cranleigh in Bloom is very pleased to support the Parish Council’s Centenary Garden project, which is looking fantastic and we can’t wait to see it officially open in November. If you’ve not been to see the work in progress in the corner of Snoxhall Fields, do take a look. It’s something as a village we can be very proud of.
Village Hall bench – Waverley Borough Council kindly donated a new bench, which we sited at the end of Village Way, in front of the Village Hall. Cranleigh in Bloom has added a small engraved plate to the bench, to commemorate our win at the South & South East in Bloom Awards 2018.
There’s more we do, a lot more, but I know you’re all keen to hear about the winners this afternoon.
Just before I get to that, a bit of news from Friday…
As I mentioned earlier, our first entry to the South & South East in Bloom Awards, which is part of the national Britain in Bloom organisation, was back in 2014, where Cranleigh proudly won the Silver Gilt standard.
We entered again in 2016, my first full year as chairman, and not only received the gold standard, but also won the overall category, being named Town of the Year 2016.
Earlier this year, we had to think very carefully about submitting another entry to these awards. There’s a lot of work involved; not only in submitting an entry, but in preparing a portfolio and route map, then making the village look as good as it can possibly look, and taking the judges on a tour around the High Street, explaining why we deserve to win.
The award ceremony took place at the Amex Stadium in Brighton on Friday. Jane and Gordon from our committee went along to represent Cranleigh in Bloom.
I’ll share with you a summary of the judge’s feedback:
“The judges were immediately impressed when first driving down the Village [town] High Street. The impression was one of colour and tidiness. It is obvious that the whole community have developed pride in their town. It was good to see that many business premises are contributing to the well being and commercial success of the area by adding colour to the high street. It is a credit to the organising of the “In Bloom” group who have recently established a “constitution” for the organisation. The welcome and introduction was useful and about the correct duration.”
And this was of course a Gold winning entry. So congratulations to everyone in Cranleigh who has contributed to securing a second Gold entry for the village this year. We should all be very proud of living and working in a village that is maintained to such a high standard.
OK, I know this is what you’re all really here for today – as well as the cake (!) – it’s time to present certificates to all those participating in Cranleigh in Bloom this year.
Judging for these certificates took place in July this year and again later in the summer, to make sure standards were maintained. We know just how difficult it has been this summer to keep hanging baskets and planters well watered and looking at their best, so everyone who has been looking after floral displays this year is a winner in our eyes.
Joining me now on the stage to present these certificates, I’m pleased to welcome Cllr Liz Townsend, chairman of Cranleigh Parish Council.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us this afternoon. Please stay for a drink and some cake, and to chat to our committee and volunteers.
Thank you to Cranleigh Arts Centre for use of their wonderful venue this afternoon and thank you to everyone who has helped make Cranleigh in Bloom such a success again this year.