Northampton community groups invited to take part in gardening competition

Posted 6th February 2024

Community groups in Northampton are invited to brighten up their neighbourhoods this year by taking part in a community gardening competition, with small grants available from Northampton Town Council for sustainable planting ideas.

The ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ competition is operated by the Royal Horticultural Society as part of the East Midlands in Bloom campaign and encourages communities to revamp existing communal gardens and neglected public green spaces.

Northampton Town Council supports the competition locally and hosts an awards ceremony at the end of the season. Groups participating in 2024 may also get the opportunity to have their project featured in the 2025 Northampton in Bloom scheme.

Cllr Andrew Stevens, Chair of the Environmental Services Committee at Northampton Town Council, said: “If there is a disused outdoor space in your neighbourhood, or an existing green area that needs a bit of TLC, it could be the perfect starting place to get a community-led planting project underway.

“This competition not only helps to increase planted areas and biodiversity in the town, but it is also a great way to bring people together and do something positive that will make a lasting difference.

“The town council is keen to support green initiatives delivered by local resident groups, so if you are interested in taking part this year, get in touch with us and we can discuss your idea.”

Groups can apply to the town council for a grant of £200 to help with start-up costs, including buying plants and gardening materials such as tools, pots and peat-free compost.

Any planting funded with a grant must be sustainable, for example, by using perennial, pollinator friendly plants which will grow back year after year and the application must be supported by the town councillor who represents the ward in which planting is proposed to take place.

The winners of last year’s competition were the Northampton Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, who created flower and herb beds, along with planters made using recycled materials at Weston Favell Parish Hall and the Friends of Eastfield Park, who developed a jubilee meadow in the park, featuring pathways and wild flowers.

Vic Smith, Chair of the Friends of Eastfield Park, said: “Participating in ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ has been a great experience and although it’s often called a competition, it is not competitive, because everybody who takes part wins!

“It’s not just about garden areas- we also look after spinneys, grassland, meadows and pathways in Eastfield Park- and all this work is included in our assessment, along with what we do to help wildlife and foster community involvement.

“We have participated most years since 2012 and have benefitted from helpful advice, encouragement and feedback from RHS Assessors, with other mentors offering useful guidance.”

Groups registering to take part in ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ will receive an annual visit from an RHS assessor, support from experienced mentors and membership to a nationwide community gardening network.

The closing date for entries to the 2024 scheme is 30th May, with judging taking place in August. Anyone wishing to take part should contact the town council by emailing Further information about ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ can be found on the RHS website.