The borough’s accolade in the ‘Small City’ category was revealed at a ceremony in Aldridge where Tamworth picked up two awards.
This year, Tamworth also came away with a Silver Gilt award for Wigginton Park in a new ‘Parks and Open Spaces’ category which was entered by The Friends of Wigginton Park volunteers group.
Months of hard work by council staff, community groups, sheltered housing schemes, businesses and green-fingered residents across the borough ensured it was lucky number seven for the gold medal by helping to maintain the town’s high standard for fabulous floral displays, impressive community projects and thriving wildlife habitats.
This year’s campaign has the theme Be Prepared to Bloom and was carried out in partnership with Tamworth’s Cubs to celebrate the organisation’s centenary, as well as continuing the commemoration of the First World War.
Judges Nicola Clarke and Roger Tait from Heart of England in Bloom were impressed with what they saw during their tour of Tamworth, which included the Cubs 100 logo and refurbished First World War floral statue on the Lichfield Street island, Broad Meadow Nature Reserve – one of only two sites in Staffordshire where snake’s head fritillaries grow wild – Rawlett School, Bright Crescent sheltered housing accommodation, the Castle Grounds and community gardens at Tamworth Community Fire Station.
The judges commented: “Through the continued spirit of community and partnership working, Bloom has become embedded in the way services are delivered and the benefits this brings to the environment and local residents were evident throughout the tour.
“From nurturing the young through the celebration of the Cubs’ centenary, to working with the local farmer and Wildlife Trust to have cattle grazing on Broad Meadow, to the continued investment in infrastructure and successful funding bids – Tamworth is positively in bloom.”
Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Tamworth in Bloom Champion, said: “Our continued success in this competition is incredible, because staying on top of the game, year after year, is no mean feat.
“Obviously huge thanks go to our StreetScene team, who work tirelessly all year round to keep the town looking nice, but we must also praise the efforts of Tamworth’s growing army of green fingered enthusiasts who are working hard to improve the areas they live in.
“Tamworth now has seven Local Nature Reserves which are maintained by volunteers in conjunction with the Wild About Tamworth project – a partnership between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. This is in addition to other voluntary groups like The Friends of Wigginton Park who help keep our open spaces looking lovely by going the extra mile.
“I’m pleased to see their hard work has paid off with the award for Wigginton Park and I hope this community pride will continue to grow around the borough as we prepare for next year’s Tamworth in Bloom competition.”
The Friends of Wigginton Park was started by a group of students from the Rawlett School around seven years ago and sees pupils, local residents and members of Tamworth Rugby Club coming together once a month to work in the park.
Together with support from Tamworth Borough Council, Wild About Tamworth and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the group has carried out a range of improvements such as the planting of 1,000 trees, including the preservation of species, introduced a new wildflower meadow, planted 500 bluebell bulbs and started work on a community orchard.
A variety of walks and activities take place in the park, such as bat walks and bird surveys, and more projects are planned, including the restoration of wetlands which will hopefully bring more amphibious species to the area.
Richard Kingstone chairs The Friends of Wigginton Park group. He said: “As this was a new category and we have never entered awards before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I am overjoyed at the Silver Gilt award. It’s testament to the hard work of the volunteers who get involved. Anyone is welcome to lend a hand on our task days and we probably have 30 to 40 people who regularly help out.
“This is a great example of people taking pride in their own community. We could all sit back and let the local authorities take care of everything, but sometimes, by taking ownership, you can make a place that much nicer. You can also be involved in some of the decision making processes. The group has been a real success so far.”
Anyone interested in getting involved can find out about forthcoming task days on The Friends Wigginton Park Facebook page at www.facebook.com/friendsofwiggintonpark.