Following the success of 2022’s London in Bloom Awards win, Better Bankside, Southwark Council and local environmental charity Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) have secured a place in the RHS’s 2023 Britain In Bloom finals.
44 community gardening groups have made it to the final of the UK’s largest community gardening competition, with Bankside and BOST being selected as one of three projects in the Urban Community category, for their contribution to green spaces in the Southwark district.
The winners of the awards will be announced in the autumn, following a summer showcase of their project which will be judged for its environmental, community engagement and horticultural qualities.
Better Bankside and BOST won their London in Bloom award last summer, having been recognised for their 19 individual parks and gardens which create a rich patchwork of small and beautiful pocket parks, hidden spaces, green streets and piazzas in the SE1 area, enhancing the health and wellbeing of the local urban community.
The urban green spaces not only offer the Southwark community an escape from the grey of the city but they also create an opportunity for businesses and residents in the area to have their say on what they’d like to see from their green spaces. The community is involved in the design, funding and maintenance of the district’s green spaces, while BOST’s volunteer-led programme, running approximately 20 hours of volunteer gardening sessions a week, enables green spaces to be community-lead and community-managed.
Many of Better Bankside’s Urban Forest sites serve as part of the Low Line. The Low Line is a walking destination for London along the length of the mighty Victorian rail viaducts spanning Bankside, London Bridge and Bermondsey. It connects diverse neighbourhoods and communities in south London, linking existing and new hubs of creativity, entertainment, and industry along its course.
BOST has been working in Bankside since 2000, protecting, preserving and enhancing the parks, gardens and other amenities in London’s SE1 and surrounding areas, by making where they live and work greener and more beautiful.
All of the projects run by Business Improvement District, Better Bankside, and BOST adopt an ecological approach to their methods. They are organically managed, with no pesticides or weed killers and use peat free compost, whilst each plant is chosen to be suited to the specific environment it is being planted in, to enable it to thrive.
Nicole Gordon, CEO of Better Bankside, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Bankside has been recognised in the prestigious Britain in Bloom awards . We believe London’s green spaces are just as essential to the urban community as public services and amenities and we are so lucky to work with a partner like Bankside Open Spaces Trust who share our vision for the SE1 district. All of this of course, wouldn’t be possible without the time and help from BOST’s fantastic pool of volunteers who have helped grow and nurture these invaluable green spaces over the years.”