Crawley residents' group and beavers rewarded at South and South East in Bloom awards

Presenter Joe Talbot hands over the award to members of the 7th Crawley Beavers
Presenter Joe Talbot hands over the award to members of the 7th Crawley Beavers

A residents’ group and the 7th Crawley Beavers earned top awards at this year’s South and South East in Bloom (SSEIB) award ceremony.

The Boswell Road Residents’ group earned another coveted ‘Outstanding’ (Level 5) at the ceremony in Brighton and the 7th Crawley Beavers achieved the ‘Thriving’ (Level 4) award.

Sharon Ottley with her award

Sharon Ottley with her award

SSEIB is a regional element of a nationwide programme run by the Royal Horticultural Society that supports and encourages communities to work together to improve their local area.

Gatwick is a headline sponsor of the annual programme not just because of the improvements to the local environment but because of the health and wellbeing benefits it gives to individuals who take part. It also strengthens connections people have within the community where they live or work.

Gatwick Airport’s Community Engagement programme focuses on supporting projects that have a lasting, positive impact on large numbers of local people across the region. The airport has sponsored more than 50 community events in the past year that support health and wellbeing; education and skills; the local environment; and the local economy.

Boswell Road Residents first entered the Its Your Neighbourhood category in 2010 and achieved Level 5 “Thriving”. Every year since then they have received Level 5 “Outstanding” and were runners up in the Champion of Champions category in 2014.

The residents hold regular weeding and planting parties with those residents unable to carry out gardening on refreshment duty with tea and cakes. The residents also hold barbecues and other celebrations on their community open space.

Sharon Ottley, of Boswell Road Residents, said: “Some 330 attendees from all over the region joined together in celebration of all the people who have formed community groups who make their areas brighter and safer through gardening.

“With approximately 30 categories ranging from small street shrub beds through to villages, towns, cemeteries, businesses and much more besides, there’s something that any like-minded volunteers and employees, who enjoy having fun and getting their hands dirty, can enter.

"Banter from the presenters, acknowledgement for hard work and commitment combined with refreshments makes for a very entertaining day. The headline sponsorship provided by ‘Your London Airport Gatwick’ allows this event to take place and is much appreciated.”

In 2010, 7th Crawley Beavers joined the Royal Horticultural Society's “It’s Your Neighbourhood" scheme administered by South & South East in Bloom.

Gradually over the years, the beavers have branched out into a whole raft of areas associated with the environment – litter-picking around the local neighbourhood, planting thousands of daffodils and crocuses around the town including the local hospital, hospice and the main park in the town centre. They have carried out environmental surveys of local woodland, made bird and bat boxes, planted trees, and sown wild flowers and Flanders poppies for Remembrance.

The beavers have been involved with South and South East in Bloom since 2010 and have worked their way up through the various levels of the RHS “It’s Your Neighbourhood” scheme achieving the highest standard possible Level 5 “Outstanding” in 2016 and retaining it ever since. In 2018 they achieved a National Certificate of Distinction and award only presented to 20 community projects each year.

Sharon Ottley, of Boswell Road Residents, said: “Some 330 attendees from all over the region joined together in celebration of all the people who have formed community groups who make their areas brighter and safer through gardening.

“With approximately 30 categories ranging from small street shrub beds through to villages, towns, cemeteries, businesses and much more besides, there’s something that any like-minded volunteers and employees, who enjoy having fun and getting their hands dirty, can enter.

"Banter from the presenters, acknowledgement for hard work and commitment combined with refreshments makes for a very entertaining day. The headline sponsorship provided by ‘Your London Airport Gatwick’ allows this event to take place and is much appreciated.”