ITS YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
It’s Your Neighbourhood is London in Bloom’s major community participation programme and is run on behalf of the RHS Britain in Bloom Campaigns. This programme focuses on community participation, and the percentages of marks awarded are as below:
- Community Participation (40%)
- Environmental Responsibility (30%)
- Gardening Achievement (30%)
The percentage after each section refers to how much each area accounts for when assessing a group/project’s benchmarking level.
When you form an ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood group and begins work, you should set your own goals which should be suited to your local needs – what follows below are ideas to help illustrate activities relevant to each pillar, not rules to be followed nor to-do lists to be ticked off.
When deciding your goals, you should consider whether these are realistic and manageable and whether the work is relevant to the core pillars. If you are a newly formed group, your first set of goals may relate to forming a group, deciding on a project, consulting with the broader community and so on. Then as the group’s work progresses, so should the goals, with the focus being increasingly on getting jobs done that move the project from initial ideas and planning to actual delivery and results. The examples below are just suggestions, and assessors will also consider where your group started, the challenges you faced and how far you have come.
It’s Your Neighbourhood is part of the wider RHS Britain in Bloom initiative, but it is not competitive; benchmarking levels are used to recognise and applaud the achievements of the participants as well as to provide them with some feedback and guidance for the future.
The assessors are there as mentors and friends – not as judges – and you should take advantage of their visit to get constructive feedback. The assessors benchmark your achievements in the areas of the core pillars by considering how much you have already achieved and how much more you could do given your unique circumstances.
Community participation is about working together for the benefit of the local area, and it may or may not involve participants in the physical work; community participation can also include fundraising, moral support, provision of facilities and resources, publicising activities and many other activities.
There are no size limits – a group is more than one! Larger groups may sub-divide into smaller groups with particular objectives (i.e. involving children/young people; developing community gardening activities; providing refreshments, making leaflets/posters etc.). A group may not have large numbers of active workers or “official” members, but they may engage others in their various projects and activities on a casual, drop-in/drop-out basis. In other words, groups will come in many sizes and have as many different structures; the key is that even if only one or two key players are driving the project, they are already engaging with other members of the community in some way or seeking ways in which to do so in the future.
It does not matter what type of community participation takes place – only that it is positive and involves local people in improving their area.
Environmental Responsibility is about caring for your local area and, where possible, minimising adverse environmental impacts. It may encompass aspects such as the cleanliness of the streets and pavements or reducing the use of natural resources. It is about the direct effects that people working at the local level can achieve and not about factors such as waste collection by the local authority.
The contents of this section will entirely depend on the nature of your local area and should always be relevant and appropriate to your needs and the community’s wishes. At all stages, good gardening practices that suit local needs should be considered. Gardening should enhance the locality of the
A total number of marks are allocated to each section, and the sections correspond to the objectives of Your Neighbourhood. There are no sub-sections with allocated scores; the assessor evaluates the section as a whole.
The items listed within each section are simply suggestions of things you could/should be doing for that core pillar; you do not have to do all or even most of them to earn a top mark for the section. The assessor needs to gauge how much has already been done against how much could be done by your group and under the conditions present. The assessor will also consider if, in relation to the objectives, you seem to be just starting (Establishing) or if you have achieved something truly outstanding (Outstanding), or if you are somewhere on the spectrum in between (i.e. Improving, Developing, Thriving).
Levels of achievement – overall marks: