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Penrith In Bloom

a drawing of 3 people stood next to eachother

Over the past few months when the world has been suffering  a global pandemic, Penrith’s indomitable ‘in bloomers’ have come together to work – at a safe distance – on various horticultural and environmentally friendly projects around town.

As the interviewees in the film below indicate, this has been an exceptionally difficult year for everyone the world over. However, despite all the challenges, Penrith has bloomed. The film captures the town’s strong community spirit, volunteer determination and people’s genuine love for Penrith and one another. Care for the environment is central too. You might feel the raw emotion that runs throughout the video as well as the notion of working together to get things done and make a difference. Next year Penrith’s entries for ‘in Bloom’ might be bigger and better, but this year is particularly memorable because of all the COVID-19 barriers.

Video – Penrith in Bloom, 2020

Penrith in Bloom 2020 DOWNLOAD from Penrith Town Council on Vimeo.

Descriptions and images of the Community Gardener’s work have also been uploaded to the Cumbria in Bloom website, as follows:

Welcome Back to Penrith with Smiley Flowers

COVID -19 Memorial Border in Penrith 

Penrith St Andrews Churchyard

Penrith Station 

Penrith Wall Boxes


On the Wildside – Garden of Eden Community Gardeners

Penrith in Bloom Community Gardeners from Penrith Town Council on Vimeo.

Play Outside – Love Our Environment!

Our children are the experts in play, so let’s follow their lead and help them play outdoors, enjoy nature and care for the environment! 

Playing with our children outdoors is already known to be good for health and wellbeing. For many generations, human brains and bodies were shaped by being in nature. Research indicates that children who spend time outside reduce the risk of shortsightedness and infections. In addition, caring for surrounding nature is one of the roots to developing critical social skills, including empathy as well as love for the environment.

Here are some simple ideas for parents and carers to play with children outside and enjoy Penrith’s lovely green spaces.

While adults provide opportunities and encouragement to inspire outdoor play, children frequently come up with their own imaginative ideas, so it’s a good idea to give them the lead to celebrate nature and care for the environment in ways they themselves have imagined and that appeal to them!

This is a community project resulting from a partnership between Penrith Town Council and Stomping Ground CIC  as part of our town’s ‘Penrith In Bloom’ project. Please help us stay connected to nature and the environment by sharing photos of your creations and new ideas on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – @penrithtowncouncil; @stompingground)  If photographing faces is a problem (without permission) you could just take photos of hands. As time goes on, we hope to see Penrith playing outdoors more and more, enjoying our brilliant green spaces. #natureconnection #penrithinbloom #actsofconnection

In the interests of public safety, normal ‘RHS Britain in Bloom’ and ‘Cumbria in Bloom’ competitions have been cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

As one of the 70 finalists in RHS Briatin in Bloom, Penrith in bloomers are disappointed that the 2020 competitions have been cancelled, however, the hope is to participate again in 2021.

With the Government advising everyone to follow social distancing measures, it is not alays possible for volunteers to carry out community gardening activities in the usual way.

Please stay at home.

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

While we are all stuck at home, it’s important to stay fit and one way of course is to spend time in our gardens, enjoying planting seeds and looking out for bees, butterflies and other wildlife.

Once again, Penrith has been chosen as a finalist in the ‘Large Town’ Category of the Britain in Bloom Competition

In 2020, the town will be competing against 9 other large British towns, as follows:

Judging dates will be confirmed in April, 2020 and the full judging itinerary will be confirmed in June, 2020. The judges will tour the town for a total of 3 hours, meeting members of the Penrith in Bloom Team at locations around the route.

The RHS Britain in Bloom finals will be held on 16th October, 2020 in Manchester.

‘Grow Social’ is the Britain in Bloom theme for 2020, and all community groups, schools and individuals wanting to make new connections can join in!

Penrith Awards at Britain in Bloom Ceremony, London 2019.

The national Britain in Bloom competition 2019 included 70 entries from throughout the UK, all competing in a variety of categories to win awards from Gold to Bronze. The winners were announced at the Annual Awards Ceremony in London on 25th October, 2019. Penrith excelled, winning two highly prestigeous awards.

Extract below from Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, 2/11/19.

‘Growing your Community,’ one of six Discretionary awards made specifically by the judges, was awarded to Penrith.

To the great pride of Louise Armstrong and Deputy Mayor Scott Jackson, who received the award on behalf of Penrith, the town was described as a ‘stand out entry’ for its engagement across the community for innovative projects

Penrith also won top award ‘GOLD’ in the ‘Large Town’ Category

The competition has twelve entry categories which are determined by size. Within each category, similarly sized communities compete across a spectrum of horticultural endeavour, community participation and environmental responsibility, which includes dealing with issues of litter, graffiti and vandalism. Penrith won the ‘Gold’ Award in the ‘Large Town’ Category.

“Community spirit is increasing, and the endavours of the past have led to a dynamic chain reaction in the town, with more and more people and community organisations now participating and learning about horticulture, growing edibles, the natural environment and making Penrith an environmentally friendly and ‘plastic clever’ town. Together we will continue to make a difference.” Cllr Doug Lawson, Mayor of Penrith (Britain in Bloom Portfolio, 2019)

Full results from Britain in Bloom, 2019

Awards from Cumbria in Bloom, 2019

In September, 2019, Cumbria in Bloom awarded Penrith a grand total of 10 awards, including 2 Golds and a new Discretionary Award from the RHS and Cumbria in Bloom for involing young people. The Regional Awards recognise the outstanding efforts of all those who have participated and worked so hard to help protect our environment and make Penrith bloom in 2019.

Awards for the town as a whole include:

  • ‘Friends of the Lake District Trophy for ‘Best Sustainable Development Town’
  • ‘Best Large Town’ Award
  • RHS and Cumbria In Bloom ‘Discretionary Award for Involvement of Young People’
  • Cumbria in Bloom ‘Pride in Your Community’ Gold Award

Penrith BID received their own

  • Cumbria in Bloom ‘Pride in Your Community’ Gold Award.

Penrith’s Community Gardening Groups were also presented with the following ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ Awards

  • Best Churchyard Runner Up – St Andrew’s Church, Penrith
  • RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood Award – Penrith Community Gardeners Polytunnel (Thriving)
  • RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood Award – 4EDEN (Outstanding)
  • RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards – Great Dockray (Outstanding)
  • RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards – Train Station (Outstanding)

Receiving the Regional Awards

Cllr Jonathan Davies and volunteer gardeners were extremely proud to receive the highly coveted Town awards, which acknowledge the enormous efforts of all the community groups, individuals and businesses involved. Joan Robinson, Louise Armstrong, Malcolm Carruthers and Laura Fossil were joined by Ellie Stack from Virgin Trains to accept the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ awards on behalf of the many dedicated and hard-working gardeners who volunteer their time so generously.

That’s TV Cumbria produced a short video (below) covering the Cumbria in Bloom Awards Ceremony.

Penrith in Bloom Short Film

Below is a film describing Penrith’s gardening and environmental projects involved in the Cumbria and Britain in Bloom Competitions. The film was shown to both sets of judges before their tours of the town on 9th July and 2nd August respectively.

Penrith in Bloom 2019 from Rachael de la Mare on Vimeo.

‘Penrith In Bloom’ Portfolio, 2019

The portfolio was brought together by Penrith Town Council to help the judges from ‘Cumbria in Bloom’ and ‘Britain in Bloom’ assess Penrith’s various different projects. Illustrated by progress photos taken over the past year, the portfolio tells the story of each project and outlines how Britain in Bloom’s rigorous judging criteria has been met.

Cumbria in Bloom – Images from the ‘Cumbria in Bloom’ Judges Tour on 9th July, 2019

Below are a few images taken during the Cumbria in Bloom judges tour. Click on each image to enlarge. When the results of the Regional competition are announced in September, we will post them on this page.

Britain in Bloom – Images from the ‘Britain in Bloom’ Judges Tour on Friday 2nd August, 2019.

Below are a few photos of the judges and some community volunteers during the recent Britain in Bloom tour of the town to assess blooms, environmental approaches and levels of community participation. Click on each image to enlarge. When the results of the Nationwide competition are announced in October we will post them on this page.

Penrith in Bloom Facebook Page

Check out the Facebook pages for Penrith in Bloom, administered by PTC and updated regularly with information, images and video clips.

Below are some animated image clips showcasing some of our town’s creative projects in 2019. They include a mix of beautiful blooms and edible plants. Click the ‘sound on’ at right hand bottom of clips to enjoy the music.

Richard 111rd Project in Great Dockray – while in development!

Springtime in Penrith, 2019 – Community Gardeners are gearing up!

A reminder of blooms in Penrith in 2018, when the town won many awards from Cumbria and Britain in Bloom, including a National Silver Gilt.

It’s Cool to Bin It, May Day, 2018

About Penrith in Bloom

In 2016, Penrith was invited to take part in the Cumbria in Bloom Competition. After receiving a number of awards in 2016 and 2017, the town was chosen as a finalist in the highly respected 2018 RHS Britain in Bloom Competition. The town received a number of awards from both Cumbria and Britain in Bloom in 2018, including an overall Silver Gilt Award from RHS Britain in Bloom.

Penrith Town Council formed the ‘Penrith in Bloom’ Group in early 2018. Local participants include the Garden of Eden Community Gardeners, other gardening volunteers, various environmental groups such as PACT’s Action on Plastic and Plastic Clever Penrith, also Penrith Town Council, other local government organisations, Penrith BID and other local businesses, all of whom work towards helping the environment and/or enhancing the town with beautiful blooms

Town Council Officers engage with participating groups and regularly update the Penrith in Bloom Facebook Page, which publicises what’s happening and keeps everyone up to speed with ‘in bloom’ developments. The Town Council also provides grant funding and/or Officer support to individuals and groups whenever needed. In addition, Town Council Officers organise the Cumbria and Britain in Bloom applications for awards, co-ordinate arrangements for judging and compile the ‘Portfolio’ (see below), which uses text and images to describe the local projects, while also relating them to the three RHS ‘in Bloom’ judging criteria, namely ‘Horticulture, ‘the ‘Environment’ and ‘Community Participation.’

Community participation, close collaboration and mutual support in addition to interaction on-line and face to face, has helped connect the groups involved and has also helped make their different projects known to others who live in the town as well as those visiting or passing through. Sharing experiences together with the health benefits of seeing beautiful blooms has created positive feelings and has helped build community spirit, important elements in making Penrith a well loved and beautiful place to live in, visit and work.