Green-fingered volunteers help Otley recycling site leap to national gardening competition final

Yorkshire in Bloom

Staff at an Otley recycling centre came up with a tip top idea to give the town’s bid to land a prestigious award some extra flower power.

As well as the town’s parks and green spaces, its Ellar Ghyll recycling site was brought to the Britain in Bloom panel judge’s attention after the tip’s bright and colourful flower arrangements were featured in the nomination. The waste-recycling site was transformed using containers and decorations recycled from within the facility.

This follows Otley’s success in Yorkshire in Bloom which saw the historic town win gold awards for a third year in a row. Once again, Otley’s real community spirit and civic pride came to the fore, as businesses and volunteers helped blossom the town and recycling site into a blooming marvellous display.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Environment and Sustainability said:

“Otley in Bloom has been a great opportunity to add a colourful display at the Ellar Ghyll recycling site. It truly represents the strong civic pride around the Leeds and surrounding areas and I’m honoured by the hard effort all of the volunteers and organisers have put in for the annual competition.”

Otley has won gold awards at Yorkshire in Bloom for the last three years. The town’s ‘In Bloom’ organisers are hoping their hard work beautifying Otley will be enough to win the top prize at the prestigious national awards ceremony this month (27 October). It would be the first West Yorkshire town to win the award in the competition’s history.

Katie Burnett, Chair of Otley in Bloom said:

“A lot of hard work has gone into transforming Otley into a colourful floral display. It’s great how the local community have all contributed to the activities in the community. Otley in Bloom has truly helped to enhance the town and the green spaces with year round colourful and sustainable displays.“

Otley is one of five finalists representing Yorkshire – and the only one from West Yorkshire in the prestigious awards, alongside Harrogate, Hutton Cranswick, Starbeck and Whitby.

Each finalist will be awarded a Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver or Bronze medal. There are also awards for best in category as well as special discretionary awards given for achieving excellence in particular fields.

RHS Britain in Bloom is the nation’s largest environmental campaign and involves more than 200,000 volunteers.

Started in 1964 by the British Tourist Authority as a way of marketing the nation through floral displays, today RHS Britain in Bloom is a campaign that brings communities together to enhance the look, feel and pride of a place, through gardening and environmental projects. Finalists work with a number of supporting organisations to transform their communities, from local businesses to schools, hospitals and prisons.

A 2015 RHS report showed that the campaign is making a major difference to the social, environmental and economic health of the country. Examples of key findings are that community gardening reduces crime and encourages social cohesion.