Loughborough in Bloom Portfolio 2016

Photograph by Peter Minshall
http://loughboroughinbloom.wordpress.com @loughinbloom
Chairman’s Welcome
Can we do it
again this year?
Once again this year we are competing in the prestigious
East Midlands in Bloom contest and we have also
been given the honour of being asked to represent
the region nationally in the Britain In Bloom finals and
internationally at Communities in Bloom 2016.
If you could harness that energy and hook up any of our
volunteers to the local power grid, we could light up the
whole town.
With a big challenge facing us this year, the opening
question is one many will ask.
It’s the people who make Bloom. By that I mean council
workers, businesses, volunteers and community groups
alike and they have all done Loughborough proud once
more this year.
But I know that if the continual effort put in by our ever
increasing Loughborough in Bloom family is anything to
go by, then yes, of course we can.
To my mind Loughborough in Bloom is not just
measured in the fantastic colour it brings to the town,
but the massive amount of energy it creates.
Loughborough in Bloom 2016
Plug in Mike Jones and you could add the whole county
in for good measure.
Happy Bloom 2016 Everyone!
Andy Rush, Chairman,
Loughborough in Bloom Board
Horticultural Achievement
Loughborough has embraced the RHS theme of Greening
Grey Britain for Health and Happiness, while incorporating
the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.
The town’s colour theme celebrates the Queen’s 90th
birthday with a red, white and blue theme, whilst the
roundabouts and Epinal Way are planted in hot colours
of red, orange and yellow.
The swimming pool bed at Loughborough University
has been planted out with a crown design in celebration.
Plant choices are Ageratum Blue Champion, Ageratum
White Champion, French Marigold Deep Orange, French
Marigold Bonanza Gold and Pyrethrum Golden Moss.
New sustainable planting is being undertaken. Waterside
planting has been created around the main pond in
Queen’s Park which replaces the tired shrubbery.
The garden is made up of numerous varieties of
moisture loving and wetland plants that complement
the water, not only in plant foliage and flower but also
encourages insect and amphibious activity.
A fire beacon has been installed in Queen’s Park to
celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and the park is
planted in hot colours throughout the summer.
As part of Quadron’s commitment to sustainable
planting the annual flower beds will be removed and
replaced in a phased series of works over the next
three years and herbaceous varieties in a tiered planter
Additional planting has taken place in the zen garden
and shrubbery next to Browns Lane in Queen’s Park to
replace losses.
In a break with previous years, planting in the town centre
has had a makeover with the removal of the three-tier
planters.This year the town will boast five hanging basket
trees, which each hold 21 baskets.The ‘dalek planters’, have
not gone to waste and have been donated to local Parish
Councils and community groups.
The main town centre planting schemes are also
followed by local businesses. Their hanging basket and
trough displays are coordinated by the Loughborough
Business Improvement District, in consultation with
Charnwood Borough Council and Quadron idverde.
Spring displays followed a traditional theme of
wildflowers and daffodils around Forest Road, with many
of the areas planted by the Scouts and Harry and Pat
Cook of the Forest Road Green Belt Gardeners.
Main: Beacon in Queen’s Park.
Left:Town centre planters.
Right: Daffodills on Forest Road Green Belt.
Horticultural Achievement
Horticultural Practice
Loughborough’s green spaces are maintained by a number of
different organisations, community groups and volunteers.
For council-owned areas, herbicides are used as little as
possible and pesticides are only used on sports fields to
ensure areas continue to be suitable for play.
These are used sparingly so there is no long lasting
impact or danger to wildlife.
Although new planting is incorporated across the
seasons and displays are changed annually to ensure
impact is maintained, Quadron idverde is looking to
introduce more sustainable planting in Council-owned
beauty spots.
This year Quadron has contracted floral feature supplier,
Plantscape, which will supply over 276 elevated planters
to brighten Loughborough’s streets, main roads and
Three-quarters of baskets will be planted with red, white
and blue flowers and there are further environmental
benefits as the planters are fully recyclable and selfwatering. The displays are planted at Plantscape’s own
Wherever possible, plants that are removed are offered
to community groups to ensure they are re-used. Recent
examples include pansies from Loughborough University
and bedding plants from Queen’s Park.
New plants are sourced from nurseries which have used
peat-free or minimum peat in their processes.
A number of open spaces across Loughborough require
the support of volunteers to keep them maintained.
Recent examples of local volunteering include the
Three Close Tenants Community Group who planted
flowerbeds at Orwell Close in Loughborough.Volunteers
from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
helped ‘Clean for the Queen’ by litter picking in Queen’s
Park and Nanpantan Road in March. The Loughborough
BID also cleaned shop fronts and removed graffiti in the
town centre.
Scouts, Brownies and Guides with a group of University
volunteers are also encouraged to support the
maintenance of parks and green spaces, with many
joining in at the start of spring to introduce new plants.
Left: Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints
Volunteers help ‘Clean for
the Queen’ on Nanpantan
Road, Loughborough.
Below:Three Close Tenants
developing their communal
Loughborough in Bloom 2016
Business Areas & Premises
Businesses are represented on the Loughborough in
Bloom Board by the Love Loughborough Business
Improvement District (BID) and the Loughborough
Chamber of Trade and Commerce.Together they
represent more than 700 businesses within the
town, so they play a key part in the Bloom effort.
To celebrate and reward businesses
for their efforts, two business
competitions (Best Dressed Town
Centre Business, sponsored by
the BID, and Best Dressed Hotel/
Public House, sponsored by the
Chamber) continue to grow.
These competitions are run
alongside the East Midlands in
Bloom competitions. Organisations
that have been involved from the
beginning have also been given
the chance to develop their role
within the competitions and share
their expertise by becoming judges,
allowing new businesses to take an
active role. In 2015, Healthy Hearing
on Granby Street won the Best
Dressed Town Centre Business
award, while the Beacon Inn on
Beacon Road won the Best Dressed
Hotel/Public House award.
For businesses in the town centre
that do not have plots of their own,
the BID has supported them in
their entry by providing funding for
hanging baskets and troughs. These
are purchased at the same time as
the council’s town centre displays to
ensure they are in-keeping with the
town theme.
“This will be the fifth
consecutive year that the
Love Loughborough BID has
supported Bloom. We know
that businesses and the public
alike value the investment in
improving the appearance
of the town centre. In 2016
we will increase the number
of baskets and troughs that
we’ve provided to over 200”
David Pagett-Wright,
Chair of the BID Board and the
Love Loughborough Partnership
Two of the town’s food businesses
have taken on the Bloom challenge
by offering some of their rubbish to
local groups.
Cino Café now provides used
coffee beans to groups looking for
more ways to fertilise their plots,
while McDonalds has furthered the
work of one enterprising employee
and has an arrangement with two
allotments to provide waste for
adding to compost.
“The Chamber is pleased
to continue its support for
Bloom. We have been looking
at ways of getting more
involvement from businesses
and encouraging them to
get more directly involved
in dressing their premises.
The quality of entries to the
business competitions was
particularly strong last year
and we are looking to build
on that.”
Rupert Harrison,
Chamber representative on the
Bloom Board
Above: MacDonald’s Coffee Beans.
Right: Healthy Hearing, Granby Street.
Horticultural Achievement
Residential & Community Gardening
The hard work of Loughborough’s many community groups
and individual gardeners is the life blood of Loughborough in
Bloom, with thirty four participating in ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’
this year, mainly gaining level three or above.
The Community Participation Group (CPG) meets
regularly throughout the year to help existing groups to
flourish and encourage new groups to set up and take
part, regardless of their size, experience or expertise.
The University’s award winning “Eat Your Campus”
project continues to flourish, with active participation
of both LAGS and Transition who also support other
community gardening groups in the town.
Associations such as those representing Three Close
Tenants and Chapman Street Gardeners show how
communal areas between flats can be turned into
welcoming spaces filled with plants and displays. Thorpe
Acre Residents Association has taken over a neglected
Ancient Village Green and made it a pleasure to behold.
These groups enable residents to take part as little or
often as they like. New groups can also grow and meet
their green aspirations.
Over the past 12 months Loughborough University has
continued to extend the fruit route, in excess of 112 trees
have now been planted on a specific trail around campus.
Some of the trees planted include, Apple, Cherry, Plum,
Pear, Apricots, Sweet Chestnut, Fig and a Grape Vine.
Loughborough University Landscaping Gardening Society
(LAGS) and Transition Loughborough continue to offer
workshops and seed swaps to other groups.
Right: Jack from Chapman Street Gardeners.
Below: LAGS with Transition Loughborough.
Loughborough in Bloom 2016
The Bloom Board and CPG continue to seek to engage
additional organisations to become involved with
Loughborough in Bloom.
Green Spaces
Despite being the largest town in the north of Leicestershire, there are
many areas of green spaces within Loughborough. Some of the largest
parks in the town are Queen’s Park, Southfields Park and Sidings Park.
Queen’s Park – which is a Green Flag Park – remains one
of the town’s focal points, with all flower beds and displays
created by Quadron idverde.The Friends of Queen’s Park
also work to bring further funding to the area to ensure
it is kept looking beautiful throughout the year.The park
is also brought further to life by local events, including
Picnic in the Park, organised by Charnwood Arts.The
Loogabarooga festival will also return for a second year to
celebrate children’s illustrated literature in October.
Southfields Park features a new parkour park, to
introduce youngsters and adults to the sport of
freerunning/parkour and a skate park, alongside
traditional rugby posts. The park embraces these urban
sports sitting alongside a green space.
Shortcliffe Park in Loughborough will also be upgraded
to include a skate park, goalposts and new benches.
Natural green spaces that celebrate the environment
include Stonebow Washlands, Charnwood Water and
the Outwoods. It’s also been landscaped to improve it’s
appearance and make it a more pleasant place to visit.
Described as the gateway to the National Forest,
the Outwoods boasts many ancient species. May is a
blooming time for the forest which is carpeted with
Banner and Top: Bluebells at the Outwoods.
Left: Queen’s Park Beacon.
Middle: Stonebow Washlands.
Right: County Council Highways Team grass cutting.
The Charnia fossil was also first discovered in
Charnwood Forest in 1957 and it is now a protected
fossil site.
Grass cutting in the town is split between Charnwood
Borough and Leicestershire County Council, with the
County Council dealing with roadside verges, and the
borough maintaining the majority of other public spaces.
Grass verges and roundabouts are cut to ensure visibility
on the roads is maintained. This year the County Council
has increased the number of cuts to six and introduced a
new flexible system to improve grass cutting. A number
of roundabouts in the town are also part of the council’s
sponsorship scheme.
Community groups have also taken ownership of
local green spaces, including a spinney within Thorpe
Acre, managed and maintained by the Thorpe Acre
Residents’ Association. The group continues to work to
enhance the area and has recently secured funding from
Charnwood Borough Council to introduce additional
seating and signage. The Forest Road Green Belt
continues to flourish under the watchful eye of local
resident Harry Cook.
Gorse Covert Green Gym is an initiative which is run by
Charnwood Borough Council. The scheme is a refreshing
approach to outdoor exercise, designed to improve
people’s health and wellbeing and make a positive impact
on the local environment.
Environmental Responsibility
Conservation & Biodiversity
Grange Park, Stonebow Washlands and the Outwoods
regularly benefit from the work of volunteers to ensure
Loughborough continues to enhance local wildlife.
Activities including wildflower seeding, coppicing, shrub
clearance and the creation of paths are organised
throughout the year.
Stonebow Washlands is part of Natural England’s Higher
Level Stewardship Scheme and is managed by Quadron
idverde, on behalf of Charnwood Borough Council. The
area was created in the 1980s to alleviate the flood risk
to Thorpe Acre and is a rich wildlife site and recreational
space for residents.
This year Stonebow Washlands will be designated a
Local Nature Reserve. This will give the area greater
protection from any possible development and could
help attract funding for improvements in the future.
Stonebow’s important habitats include semi-natural
grassland, standing water bodies, streams and wet
woodland. There is also a good range of grassland
species including hairy sedge and marsh marigold and a
significant community of common frog and toad.
The designation is due to be completed this year.
Loughborough boasts two other stewardship scheme
sites at Bishops Meadow and Pignut Spinney; these
are grassland sites which are full of a diverse number
of species. The natural management of these areas is
designed to enhance the floral value. At Bishops Meadow
grazing takes place in partnership with a local farmer.
Left: to Right: Wildlife Haven, Bees at University, Harry Cook
Toadstools and Green Belt Fairy Trail.
Loughborough in Bloom 2016
In 2010 wildflower planting was introduced across
Loughborough and continues to spread across the town.
The town embraced the 2014 theme of ‘planting for
pollinating insects’, and this theme continues to be built
upon annually by developing planting schemes in the
town to encourage pollinating insects and biodiversity,
even within the urban environment.
There are more than 40 species of birds that nest on the
Loughborough University campus, including pheasants,
kingfishers and buzzards. Specifically designated wildlife
areas have been created across the site to further boost
woodland, and other species. A colony of bees was
introduced in 2013 and the University produced its first
home-grown honey in 2014.
Bird boxes have also sprung up across the town, with
instant habitats installed in the Outwoods and Queen’s
Park. Members of the Thorpe Acre Residents’ Group
have also provided bird and bat boxes for use on the
Forest Road Green Belt, adding to the small collection
introduced in 2014.
The Green Belt also now boasts new, natural, seating,
that has been handmade by Harry Cook. Harry has
produced a collection of toadstools using local wood
which now provide an additional place to sit and enjoy
nature. This year Harry and Pat have built a fairy trail for
children to visit at the Green Belt forest.Visitors so far
have been local nurseries and school children who have
enjoyed picnics whilst exploring the fairy trail.
Resource Management
During the dry seasons, Quadron idverde have access to a 600 gallon
water storage tank at Charnwood Water. Water from the man-made
lake is used to water nearby beds if they are threatened by drought.
Water butts are used by a number of community groups
to gather water in an environmentally friendly way and
ensure natural resources are used as much as possible
before the need for hose pipes.
Serco, the Borough Council’s waste contractor, provides
a mixed recycling service which makes it much easier
for residents to use and in turn reduces the amount of
rubbish going to landfill.
Quadron also uses mulch, including Lime Bark, to retain
water on beds, alongside gel beads to hold some of the
water and keep it in the soil, reducing the need to water
the areas.
Charnwood Borough Council’s allotment tenants are
offered composting facilities and green waste collection
to ensure that all waste produced is used in the most
effective way possible. Composting is also promoted by
Leicestershire County Council, who offer reduced-price
compost bins for anyone looking to use the nutrients
from leftovers.
The new Plantscape hanging baskets will help reduce
our carbon footprint as they are self-watering and fully
When large beds are replanted, leaving plants in need
of a new home, any remaining flowers or shrubs are
donated to local community groups for them to be
re-used. This can represent the start of a new flower
bed for different groups and provides a splash of colour
while waiting for seedlings to mature.
The Corner Garden Community Group has benefitted
greatly from unwanted and donated plants to bring the
space to life and provide residents with a community
space that they can enjoy.
Loughborough University continues to use a mechanical
bulb planting programme alongside their traditional
annual programme; this has led to more than 30,000
bulbs being planted across various vast campuses that
will continue to bloom in the future.
Composting skills are also shared by a network
of Master Composter volunteers. Individuals are
encouraged, by Leicestershire County Council, to use
their experience of composting to help those who have
never given it a go.
The Council’s annual Student Recycling Blitz, held before
the summer holidays, encourages students to have a tidyup of their homes and gardens, while also encouraging
donations to charity. In 2015 the initiative resulted in 113
electrical items being collected and 23 bags of textiles
being donated to charity, on top of fortnightly kerbside
Left:The Loughborough Recycling Depot
Below: Busy volunteers at The Corner Garden
Environmental Responsibility
Local Heritage
Loughborough has a very rich local heritage that continues
to be celebrated by local artists and organisations.
The Victorian Queen’s Park opened in 1899 to
commemorate Queen Victoria’s jubilee and continues to
showcase vibrant plant displays and events throughout
the year.
The park is also home to Charnwood Museum –
originally the town’s swimming baths – which celebrates
the history of Charnwood, including its rich and diverse
Jurassic past.
The Carillon War Memorial is the central feature of
the space. The landmark which commemorates those
who died in the First and Second World War is also a
musical instrument for which Edward Elgar wrote the
opening ceremony score entitled ‘Carillon Chimes’ and
performed in July 1923. This manuscript was ‘lost’ for 90
years before being discovered in a Council building in
February 2012.
Taylor’s Bell Foundry, one of the oldest Loughboroughbased businesses, is famed for casting the largest bell in
Britain, Great Paul, which is hung in St Paul’s Cathedral.
The bell case used to cast the bell is also proudly
displayed within Queen’s Park as a focal point for
planting displays.
Right: The Carillon War Memorial in Queen’s Park –
c/o Peter Minchell Photography
Below: Loogabarooga Book Bench.
Loughborough in Bloom 2016
Last year, Angel Yard received a Green Plaque award from
Leicestershire County Council. The plaque celebrates
the building’s heritage as the original home of Ladybird
Books, to remind visitors to the area of the building
where the company started.
The Loogabarooga Festival will return for second year
in October. The six-day festival celebrates children’s
illustrated literature. Children and adults alike are invited
to attend workshops and activities. This year a new
competition has been launched for people to nominate
their favourite Ladybird book and the most popular
title will become artwork for a new bench which will be
displayed in the town.
Loughborough’s Cattle Market, which had been seen as a
less-attractive area within the town centre, has also been
brightened up by the introduction of a bespoke piece of
The piece, created by Wei Ong, covers Loughborough
across the seasons and references the town’s people,
landmarks and history.
Local Environment Quality
Loughborough’s environment is looked after by a number
of organisations and groups contributing to Bloom.
Charnwood Borough Council’s Street Management team
works with the Cleansing and Open Spaces team, Serco
and volunteers to keep the town clean.
Street wardens deal with environmental crimes, from
littering to dog fouling, and the Council has a very good
reputation for tackling the issues head on. The annual
Don’t Muck Around campaign has been recognised by
a number of awarding bodies for raising awareness of
littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping. Each year the Council
works to design new and innovative ways to discuss the
issues. This year’s campaign incorporates letters written
by local school children which encourage people to stop
littering and dog fouling.
Prosecutions for these offences are one way of deterring
people from dumping their rubbish or failing to clean up
after their pet. So far, the Council has carried out more
than 15 prosecutions for fly-tipping so far this year, seven
on-the-spot fines for dog fouling and 67 for littering.
The Council continues to work alongside Serco and
Leicestershire County Council to increase recycling
rates in the town, reducing the amount of waste from
the area that goes to landfill. In 2015-16 Loughborough’s
recycling rate was 48%.
Bloom groups continue to contribute to recycling, by
producing their own compost and sharing it with other
groups, and taking advantage of garden waste collections
from the Borough Council.
Litter picking takes place throughout the year through
the community composting scheme by volunteer
community groups and with the help of volunteers
who lend a hand to projects. The quality of a number of
areas, from individual patches of land to estates is also
maintained by members of the community.
Gorse Covert Green Gym is an initiative which is
run by Charnwood Borough Council. A team of local
volunteers are taught practical conservation skills
to look after the environment, while also designed
to positively impact people’s health and wellbeing by
encouraging them to be active outdoors.
The main drive behind the work of many groups is
to improve the look and feel of their area, not simply
through the creating of visual displays, but also through
ensuring the space continues to look neat and tidy.
Left: Gorse Covert Green Gym volunteers.
Below: Serco leaf collection.
Environmental Responsibility
Pride of Place
Street furniture in Loughborough town centre, including bus shelters
and benches, is cleaned and maintained by some Charnwood
Borough Council’s partners, Quadron idverde and Serco.
Community wardens and street wardens also patrol the
town and report problems, including fly-tipping, litter and
graffiti. The litter bins have been replaced with brand new
stainless steel bins, to ensure they remain looking clean
and tidy.
Art has been used in another part of the town, to
enhance the look and feel of the area. Bristol-based
artists Wei Ong (Silent Hobo) designed the 60m artwork
after speaking to local people and visitors about what
Loughborough meant to them.
In 2014 signs welcoming people to Loughborough were
placed on the seven entrances to the town. The signs are
more prominent than those they replaced and celebrate
one of the town’s most iconic features, the Carillon War
During consultation, Wei also created a piece about Lady
Jane Grey, which is also on display in Market Yard.
This year there will be five hanging-basket trees in the
town centre, which will be planted in red, white and blue
to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. The town has
also been dressed with bunting and new banners.
In May the new Cineworld complex opened, which is
part of a multi-million pound development in the heart
of the town. The area will also have a number of new
restaurants and bars, which will boost the town’s nighttime economy.
Signage within the town centre has also been changed
and enhanced, with new information boards pointing
visitors to local points of interest.
Left: Love Loughborough
banners, hanging baskets
and bunting to celebrate the
Queen’s 90th Birthday.
Above:The newly opened Cineworld complex.
Below: Cattle Market colourful street art
Loughborough in Bloom 2016
Community Participation
Development & Continuity
The Loughborough in Bloom campaign is supported by the Bloom
Board, which is made up of key decision makers from across the town.
Local residents join the chair of the Community
Participation Group, Mike Jones, alongside
representatives from Charnwood Borough Council,
Leicestershire County Council, Loughborough University,
the Business Improvement District and Chamber of
Trade and Commerce and Quadron idverde.
The Loughborough in Bloom Board is chaired by
Loughborough Echo Editor, Andy Rush; meetings take
place throughout the year to ensure the campaign
continues to grow.
The Cambridge Street based Corner Garden has
developed over the last three years, growing from an
unloved space that was prone to anti-social behaviour, to
a community garden used for local events. Work on the
project continues, with plans to expand the use of the
space and develop the offer for residents.
At Loughborough University the completion of an
additional two football pitches at the Holywell end of
campus has resulted in a further planting of 4,500 hedge
whips and trees to extend Burleigh woodland and to
complete the wildlife corridor on the southern boundary
of the campus.
The Forest Road Green Belt was established as a
community space for wildlife a few years ago by Harry
Cook and his wife Pat and has been entered for a
Community Green Flag.
The community group continue to develop the space,
introducing new features, and encouraging children
from the scouts, brownies, and local school to take part
in activities. This Spring time saw scouts pick up their
trowels to plant daffodil bulbs and a Fairy Trail was
created for children to enjoy.
Youngsters across the town continue to develop
green fingers by taking part in the annual sunflower
competition, organised and sponsored by Mike and
Marj Jones.
Left:The Loughborough in Bloom Board.
Bottom Left: Local Scouts plant bulbs at the
Forest Road Green Belt.
Below:Youngsters take part in the
Annual Sunflower Competition.
Community Participation
Community & Education
The town’s local newspaper, the Loughborough Echo, has been at the heart
of the Loughborough in Bloom campaign since it was launched in 2009.
Regular updates and Bloom news are included within the
weekly paper and the Editor, Andy Rush, continues to
develop the campaign as Chairman of the Loughborough
in Bloom Board.
The annual children’s competitions invited primary
school children to get involved in the event, while a
number of schools also use local green spots when
The Charnwood Borough Council website has regular
updates about Loughborough in Bloom throughout
the year and the Loughborough in Bloom community
website keeps residents informed about events.
Pupils from Loughborough’s Primary Schools were once
again invited to enter the Tallest Sunflower competition.
Quadron has also launched a new community website
which is intended to complement and expand upon
the existing Quadron idverde corporate website and
the Quadron Community Partners Facebook page. It
features the latest case studies on Quadron’s activities
with volunteer and third sector groups and some of the
positive feedback that the company has received from
groups it works with.
The town’s Scouts movement has continued to engage
youngsters in growing, planting and celebrating wildlife,
after taking a very active role in the 2015 campaign.
The continued involvement of Loughborough’s schools
in Bloom ensures that the skills and expertise of those
groups taking part is passed onto the next generation.
Below: Probation Service trainees painting fence a
Forest Road Green Belt.
Loughborough in Bloom 2016
Plantscape, which is contracted by Quadron idverde to
provide sustainable planters in Loughborough, has held a
series of workshops for local schools to teach them how
to grow and look after plants.
Both the Three Close Tenants Association and Harry and
Pat Cook of Forest Road Green Belt have worked with
Probation Service Trainees to tend and improve the local
Education is not just for the young; Charnwood Borough
Council runs an environmental campaign each year to
educate residents and visitors about littering, fly tipping
and dog fouling.
The award-winning Don’t Muck Around campaign carries
different themes each year to engage different target
audiences. Previously it has used social media to attract
online audiences, as well as posters and leaflets.
Below: Forest Road Green Belt.
Community Participation
Community participation in Loughborough continues to drive the Bloom
campaign. Each year the number of It’s Your Neighbourhood groups increases; this
year a total of 34 organisations have signed up to take a very active role.There are
other groups, individuals and businesses who also contribute in other ways.
Loughborough Student Action continues to urge as many
of the University’s students to pick up a trowel and
support projects under the Bloom umbrella. Each year,
more than 2,000 volunteers take part in litter picking
and gardening and maintenance projects across the
Students from the University undertook a big community
clear up event. Around 350 students litter picked in
Loughborough to ensure that the platform is looked
after and the flower beds are well maintained.
A University owned hotel, The Link, has continued to get
involved with the Bloom initiative and has asked that the
three flower beds that were created last year to enhance
the entrance and grounds of the hotel remain in place
this year.
Loughborough helped Clean for the Queen in March
along with local volunteers and the support of Serco
and Quadron idverde. Throughout the weekend, litter
picks and shop front makeovers took place at various
locations across Loughborough including in Queen’s Park
and the town centre.
Transition Loughborough organised a Potato Day in
February at Loughborough Market. People could buy
cheap seed potatoes to grow their own crops. They also
arranged a seed swap at Fearon Hall Community Centre,
where people brought their surplus seeds and exchanged
them with other people. The seeds were harvested from
previous year’s plants.
Each year competitions are run to engage new and
existing contributors to Bloom. The Loughborough
Echo’s annual Best Front Garden competition has
been joined by the Spring Gardens competition. Both
are going from strength to strength and see different
competitors put their gardening gloves to the test to
produce the best horticultural display. Businesses in the
town are invited to take part in the Best Hotel or Pub
Garden and Best Retailor and Commercial Premises
competitions run by the Loughborough Business
Improvement District and Chamber of Commerce.
Hardwick House, a school for children on the autism
spectrum, invited neighbours Harry and Pat Cook of
the Forest Road Green Belt Gardeners for a meal in
February. During the meal, the school presented Harry
and Pat with a cheque for £200 so that more bulbs and
seeds could be purchased for the Forest Road Green
Belt. Using the cheque, Harry and Pat purchased 1,000
aconites and 500 snowdrops.
Fearon Hall runs the Utilise Social Café in partnership
with Enactus and Transition Loughborough. The café
serves delicious meals for the community made from
ingredients which would have otherwise gone to landfill.
The project is supported by local supermarkets which
supply the leftover products and the café operates on a
‘pay as you feel’ basis so it can be enjoyed by all.
From Left to Right: Loughborough University students at
the big clear up event, Hardwick House, and Spring Garden
Competition entry.
Community Participation
Year-round Involvement
Bloom participants are kept up-to-date of events taking place across the year
through the Loughborough Echo and the Loughborough in Bloom website.
Community groups meet regularly at the Bloom Community Participation
Events that take place outside of the judging season
continue and are embraced by the town to ensure that
Loughborough continues to bloom all year round.
Other work throughout the year includes the Three
Close Tenants Association which held a big planting day
that saw more than thirty volunteers attend.
Harry Cook leads the town’s Christmas efforts, annually
transforming his garden into a Santa’s grotto.
Transition Loughborough is looking to extend the
University Fruit Routes out into the community. They
have also worked with Fearon Hall on various initiatives
including the Social Cafe, which provides nutritious meals
using food donated by retailers that is past its sell-by
date. The John Storer Charnwood Allotment now has
activities every weekday and £300 has been raised from
the sale of produce. Three fruit trees, an apple, a plum
and a cherry have been planted close to the junction
between Epinal Way and Beacon Road.
Spring is always a colourful time at Loughborough
University. A yew tree was planted for the Magna Carter
celebrations and a cherry tree has been donated to
Queen’s Park.
Planting also took place at the Marios Tinenti Centre as
they welcomed pansies that were no longer needed by
the University gardeners.
In Summer, the University holds open days along its fruit
routes. This year visitors learnt about Renga poetry,
visited the bees and tried wild tea whilst walking along
the fruit routes.
Loughborough in Bloom 2016
Left: Queen’s Park in Winter
Below: Harry Cook’s Christmas Display
and Fearon Hall Social Cafe.
Bottom:Yew tree planting for the Magna Carter Celebrations.
Funding & Support
The Loughborough in Bloom campaign is underpinned by volunteers and
keen gardeners who work to keep their area blossoming. Some volunteers
have taken part since 2009, while this is the first year of entry for others.
Voluntary groups including Transition Loughborough,
Charnwood Conservation Volunteers, Loughborough
Tow Path Pickers and G&S Services who offer their
support to many green causes too.
To boost the voluntary effort, Charnwood Borough
Council, Serco, Quadron idverde, Leicestershire County
Council and the Business Improvement District provide
funding to ensure that Loughborough continues to
Bloom. Some of the funding covers a range of initiatives,
while others, such as that from Mike and Marj Jones, pay
for hanging baskets or displays in specific areas. Individual
community groups are also supported by sponsorship
and assistance from local businesses, such as Hathern
Nurseries, Pinnacle and B&Q.
Serco will sponsor a further £5000 towards the Bloom
effort this year, while new supplier, Plantscape will
sponsor a hanging basket tree in the town centre. The
Markets and Fairs team at Charnwood Borough Council
will also sponsor a hanging basket tree.
Local groups also raise funds by selling plants and items
that they have created. John Storer House continues to
sell plants to fund the cottage garden and allotment, to
allow their Bloom efforts to be self-sufficient.
Photo Below: Beautiful Flower Beds in Queen’s Park –
c/o Peter Minshall Photography.
Future Plans
Plans for Loughborough in Bloom over the next year include:
• Quadron will continue to work towards establishing more Green Flag green spaces and local nature reserves
• More sustainable planting of beds
The Abbeyfield Loughborough Society
Loughborough District Scouts
AllotmentsAshby Road Estates Green Fingers
Loughborough Echo
Business Improvement District
Loughborough Endowed Schools
Caroline Sharpe, Loughborough Carillon
Loughborough All Saints Parish Church Garden Group
Chapman Street Gardens
Loughborough Tow Path Pickers
Charnwood Borough Council
Loughborough University
Charnwood Conservation Volunteers
Loughborough URC
Corner Garden Community Group
Marios Tinenti Centre
Clear Cut Conservation
Peter Le Marchant Trust
Emmanuel Church
Peter Minshall, Photographer
Fearon Community Association
Forest Road Green Belt Gardeners
Primary Schools of Loughborough
Freehold Street Bloomers
Quadron Services Ltd
Friends of Queen’s Park
Rockingham Road Gardeners
G & S Services
Garendon Green Gardeners
Shelthorpe Community Association
Glebe House Allotment Project
Sidings Park Area Residents’ Association
Great Central Railway
Student Action Volunteers
John Taylor Bell Foundry
Thorpe Acre Residents Association
John Storer Charnwood Allotment
Three Close Tenants’ Association
John Storer House Cottage Garden
Transition Loughborough – Community Allotment
Knightthorpe Methodist Gardeners
Transition Loughborough – Community Orchard
Landscaping and Gardening Society (LAGS),
Loughborough Students’ Union
Val Wilson Court Gardening Group
Leicestershire County Council
Hardwick House Gardeners
Leicestershire & Rutland Fire Service
Staveley Court Gardeners
Loughborough Baptist Church
Holt Drive Quad
Loughborough Business Improvement District
Wolsey Way Gardeners
Loughborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce
The Secret Garden
Loughborough Crematorium - Dignity Funerals LTD
Warwick Way Action Group (WAGS)