The Community Project for Everyone

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As from October 2015 we have had our own standalone site at:
We are leaving this site in place as an archive.


The Community – a high priority

From the outset, Stony Stratford in Bloom (SSIB) has regarded engagement with the community as one of its main priorities and has linked with other community groups in the town.

Volunteers themselves, members of Stony Stratford in Bloom have sought to draw in more and more people to take part in the projects that have been planned, such as the Bluebell Wood at the south end of London Road by the Children’s Centre. Publicity has brought enthusiastic members of the public to join in hedge-planting and wrenching out of ivy and brambles; and the same happened at other sites that Stony Stratford in Bloom prepared and planted, such as those in Augustus Road and Hale Avenue.

What is most important to the project is bringing in the whole community and each year there has been a warm response from the people of Stony Stratford. School children, Brownies, Guides, the Children’s Centre and local residents are involved in planting, dead-heading and weeding beds and planters. Publicity brought new volunteers who have taken on useful new roles – for example in securing sponsorship and managing the Website. However, Stony Stratford in Bloom would be delighted to attract new members who would be prepared to help with marketing and publicity, as well as helping with the ongoing projects, which include:

  • Working parties Saturdays, 10 am – 12 noon and Wednesdays, 2 pm at various locations around town (see the section on Next Working Parties)
  • Maintenance of landscaped sensory gardens on London Road, Calverton Road and Church Street
  • Maintenance and planting of Millennium beds at the entrances to the town
  • Watering the plants in the polytunnel that Stony Stratford in Bloom erected in 2009 in the grounds of St Mary & St Giles JUnior School with Futures Group funds, and helping with gardening sessions for the children of St Mary & St Giles School in the polytunnel and raised beds outside
  • Helping to clear ivy from the lychgate wall on London Road
  • Helping with the floral FS on Fullers’ Slade that Andy Macdermott, the Community Mobilizer, spear-headed

For success in the Britain in Bloom competition it is important that the town is clean and tidy. Members engage in regular litter-picks, and take responsibility for dealing with litter in their neighbourhood.

It is also important that the principles of sustainability are observed. This aspect is being addressed by the use of the polytunnel for storing plants and taking cuttings, and by the water-retaining design of the hanging baskets and planters.

Involving children and young people

It has been particularly important to the Stony Stratford in Bloom group to involve the school children of Stony Stratford in Stony in Bloom. Each year seeds planted by children from St Mary & St Giles, Russell Street and Queen Eleanor schools, and also from the Brownies, have brought such a cheerful splash of colour to the entrances to the Town. The Junior Youth Group, the Baptist Church youth group and the Children’s Centre have also engaged enthusiastically with Stony Stratford in Bloom projects. The Stony Stratford in Bloom group has extended the children’s engagement with Stony Stratford in Bloom projects through joint use of the large poly tunnel, which Stony Stratford in Bloom members have erected in the grounds of St Mary & St Giles School. Meirion Morgan, then the Head Teacher, welcomed the project enthusiastically, and Stony Stratford in Bloom is delighted to be helping Stony Stratford’s children learning more about gardening through plant-growing in the poly tunnel. Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers are providing a series of gardening sessions for all the classes, and the children enjoy eating the produce.

Children’s competitions

Children’s painting competitions on a theme of flowers and woodland are aimed at encouraging awareness of Stony Stratford in Bloom. In the first year local artist Derek Daniels kindly agreed to judge the painting competition and to give out the prizes; and Skills, the local art supplies shop, agreed to provide art supplies for the winners.

Front Garden and Floral Container Competition

Not only children, but also adults have been drawn in to Stony Stratford in Bloom competitions. Each year Stony Stratford in Bloom holds a front garden and a floral container competition. In 2009 this was sponsored by Liz Thurley from Roman Way Garden Centre. Chris Wilde, Manager of Roman Way, offered his time and expertise to make a presentation to Stony Stratford residents, providing them with valuable tips on front garden design to inspire them to take part in the competition.

Stony Open Gardens

In 2009 Stony Stratford in Bloom took over organization of Stony Open Gardens, with Janice Windon acting as project manager. This raised £4000 for Willen Hospice and £1800 for Stony Stratford in Bloom (see What Happened Previously). This event happens every other year. Those who have a back garden they’d like to share with members of the public are warmly encouraged to join in the next Stony Open Gardens, which will be in 2013.

Rotary Club

5 October 2010

Two thousand Rotary crocuses

Rotarians and Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers planting crocuses by the Bluebell Wood in London Road on 5 October 2010Today (Tuesday, 5 October), members of the Rotary Club joined Stony in Bloom volunteers to plant 2000 crocus bulbs that the Rotary Club have donated as part of the publicity for their ‘End World Polio’ campaign. (Judith’s dog was just there to keep us company!) The bulbs were planted on the grass verge on the other side of the footpath from the Bluebell Wood at the top of London Road, and so in the spring there should be a lovely splash of purple and yellow, the Rotary colours, as residents and visitors enter the town from the south.Rotarians and Stony in Bloom volunteers assemble at Bluebell Wood at the top of London Road to plant two thousand crocuses Just after we’d finished there was a short, sharp shower, which we feel sure will have watered in the bulbs nicely!

Later in the afternoon, after school, the children from the Children’s Centre enjoyed planting some of the crocus bulbs too.

Keeping in Touch with the Community

Through leafleting in the Library and at Town events such as the Switching on of the Christmas Lights Ceremony, and through articles in the Town Crier and local newspapers, the Group has tried to tempt enthusiastic gardeners to take part in Stony Stratford in Bloom activities and to keep other residents abreast of Stony Stratford in Bloom activities. Stony Stratford in Bloom also organizes talks for everyone on gardening and related matters.

Community sponsorship support

Community involvement through sponsorship has been keenly sought by Stony Stratford in Bloom. The Business Association sponsored the purchase of Daisy the Water Bowser in 2009 and members of the Business Association provide the hanging baskets that beautify the High Street so magnificently. The Community Association and Ancell Trust also provide sponsorship. A warm welcome to Stony Stratford in Bloom has come from the Rotary Club, which kindly provided sponsorship in 2008 and 2009. Generous individual sponsorship has come from Hobby Fish for one of the planters, from Lesley Arkin, who is sponsoring bulbs in Cofferidge Close, from Lynda Cantor, who is sponsoring the seeds for the children’s planting, and Jenny Mercer, who is contributing to the Bluebell Wood. David Odell very helpfully allows Stony Stratford in Bloom to use his vehicles for transporting planters. Ken Daniels, Chairman of York House Trustees, has set the precedent of donating funds from the Stony Words Literary Quiz, to Stony Stratford in Bloom coffers. The Group has used this money to bring blooms to the front of York House.

Close ties with the Futures Group

The Futures Group has channelled substantial funds to Stony Stratford in Bloom from its successful SEEDA bid. This paid for the poly tunnel, the bulbs for the Bluebell Wood, and the plants for landscaping Augustus Road and the London Road/Hale Avenue Sensory Garden. In April 2009, in liaison with the Futures Group, Stony Stratford in Bloom launched a new sponsorship strategy, with car and shop window stickers.

Click here for more information about Stony Stratford Futures Group.

Last but by no means least

Community involvement has been most enthusiastically expressed through the warm comments of passers-by who have told volunteers as they have been weeding and planting how much they appreciate what Stony Stratford in Bloom has achieved, and from emails to the Town Council, which voice their delight at the transformation that the flowers and landscaping have brought to the town.

Cllr Judy Deveson

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