Column by Let’s FACE It!: Celebrating a birthday and saying a fond farewell to Ruth

Celebrating 10 years of Let's FACE It! SUS-150324-161008001
Celebrating 10 years of Let's FACE It! SUS-150324-161008001

Let’s FACE It! is an initiative that supports local people in improving the environment in which they live and work through volunteering

It is almost 10 years ago to the day since Crawley Borough Council launched Let’s FACE it!. FACE stands for Focus Action for Crawley’s Environment. The idea behind the campaign was to make it as easy as possible for anyone who cared about the town to make improvements to their neighbourhood whether they were residents, community groups, businesses, schools or a combination of all of these – all working in partnership with the local council.

Before 2005 Crawley in Bloom had been very successful but the competition was becoming more and more exclusive and getting smaller and smaller with the same people involved year on year (admittedly at a very high standard) but this was the very thing that put the rest of the population off entering. This was the opposite of what the council wanted to achieve so the name was changed to Let’s FACE it! and re-launched with the aim of making it a totally inclusive campaign regardless of people’s skills and abilities.

By taking the competitive edge away we have found that over the years more and more people have wanted to get involved in improving their local environment for the good of everyone and the campaign has a ripple effect with neighbours seeing the effect “Let’s FACE it” has on a street and wanting to copy it.

A unique element of Crawley’s Let’s FACE it! initiative is that projects are funded through the sponsorship of Crawley’s floral decorations and sponsored roundabouts. There are also a large range of tools and equipment that can be borrowed free of charge from Let’s FACE it! which makes it really easy for a project to be a success and all that is needed are the volunteers themselves.

We know that lots of people really care about how their local environment looks, and hundreds of residents are already actively involved in making their neighbourhoods safer, greener and cleaner without being part of any campaign – they just get on and do it!

But we also know that many people feel they don’t know where to start if they want to make a difference. By working together with Let’s FACE it! the community can make environmental improvements to neighbourhoods, and celebrate the wonderful achievements made.

Such a celebration was held at the Civic Hall last week when the Mayor of Crawley, Cllr Brenda Smith, joined fellow councillors plus hundreds of local people to celebrate the 10th Birthday of Let’s FACE it!

The evening was also an opportunity for the people to say hello to Kate Taylor-Smith who is taking on the Let’s FACE it! role at the council and to say cheerio to Ruth Growney who is leaving the council after ten years at the helm of Let’s FACE it!.

Ruth said “I am really happy to walk away from Let’s FACE it! knowing it will be in the very capable hands of Kate. Plus I am never really far from any Let’s FACE it! project. I have lived in Crawley nearly all my life and all over the town there are flower beds I have designed, trees I have planted, and at this time of year over 150,000 daffodils that residents have planted over the past ten years! I feel that I have made a lasting difference to the town and am really proud of what I have achieved but am also really proud of how the people of Crawley have totally embraced Let’s FACE it! Since 2005 over 1,100 projects have taken place with a total of 51,553 hours of volunteering carried out by 12,545 people. If you convert that into 7 hr days it makes 7,365 days of volunteering, or one person working every day for 20 YEARS! An amazing achievement by the people of Crawley for the town of Crawley!”

For more information on Let’s FACE it! please visit