Houghton In Bloom
Caring For Our Village Environment
Our small group of volunteers started when our chair, Brian Hill with some of his neighbours, became concerned about the large amount of litter that collected across our Village Hall and Green and throughout the village generally. The area in front of our Village Hall and around the Green was also drab and sparsely planted with shrubs and trees. In the intervening ten years the group has transformed both the Village Hall and Green area as well as other selected parts of the village by planting trees and beautiful flower beds plus collections of flowers in boxes, baskets and tubs. They have also created a herb garden for people with limited sensory accuity.
Our most recent project has been to construct a floral display to celebrate the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force.
H.I.B has actively promoted the care of our village environment among residents and the wider community by inviting youngsters and other residents to take part in community litter picks and tidy-ups as part of our participation in the "Cumbria In Bloom" competition. The group has enjoyed good success over the years and the village as a whole has received frequent praise for its neat and tidy appearance by C.I.B. judges.
Two of our members run a gardening club in the local primary school and have created a vegetable and fruit garden with the pupils in the school grounds. We have also visited the school to work with teachers to increase awareness of caring for the environment as part of a wider "Care For Your Neighbourhood" initiative. This involved taking a whole school assembly to impress upon young people the need to dispose of their litter responsibly.
Houghton In Bloom also works with our local parish council in running a “Love Your Garden” scheme where individual residents can receive small trophies that celebrate the beauty of their own personal gardens.
We were very proud last year when one of our members, Susan Aglionby, was awarded the O.B.E. for her work with young people on her educational farm in the village (Susan's Farm). She also provides us with excellent compost kindly provided by her farm animals!
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
We would like to extend our activities further by helping people with special needs by extending our herbal garden to make a multi-sensory garden area with special boxes of herbs and other exotic plants. This will involve the purchase of five waist-high wheelchair-accessible planters where people can look at and smell the various plants such as coriander, oregano and basil as well as pluck them to take home. We also hope to provide information boards in print and braille to inform visitors about the different types of herbs and their uses in medicine and cookery. It is difficult to estimate the actual numbers of people who would benefit from this but our Village Hall area, where they would be placed, is visited by many members of the public in any week such as Evergreens, W.I., Mothers and Toddlers, Slimming World etc. who all use the Hall facilities every week. H.I.B. members provide many of the plants for our colourful displays from our own greenhouses and gardens and we also raise funds by selling them at the annual Village Fair. We have been fortunate to be provided with grant aid for specific projects from our Parish Council but funding is tight and only covers essential expenditure for maintenance each year. A rough estimate of our costs for this herb planter project will be five planters at approximately £70 per box with the balance needed for speciality herbs, plants, soil and compost and interpretation boards. We hope to use planters made from sustainable materials which will give benefit to individuals and the community for many years to come.
"Caring For Our Environment - kindly supported by Skipton Grassroots Giving To Enhance Every Person’s Life In Houghton Village, Cumbria (P. Duncan - H.I.B. Treasurer)"