Registration for the two long-standing environmental improvement initiatives, Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood is now open until April 30.
These initiatives aim to encourage and inspire community action and feed into the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) UK-wide Britain in Bloom campaign.
Beautiful Scotland is for groups who have come together to improve their whole village, town or city, and has judged and non-judged categories, with prestigious awards up for grabs. It’s Your Neighbourhood is for smaller scale projects such as a community garden.
While it is not a competition, the scheme has Levels of Achievement to encourage progression.
Groups who register will receive support, mentoring and recognition for their greening and growing efforts throughout the year, and have opportunities to nominate themselves for a range of awards.
Visit the Beautiful Scotland and It's Your Neighbourhood webpages for more information and details of how to register.
While shrubs, flowers and trees are an important part of an entry, there is also a significant focus on environmental, biodiversity and climate change issues, such as reducing water use, planting for wildlife and repurposing or recycling, as well as addressing litter, graffiti and improving vacant properties or sites. One example of championing biodiversity is Glasgow-based It’s Your Neighbourhood group Yorkhill Green Spaces, which won the NatureScot It’s Your Neighbourhood Pollinator Friendly Award at Keep Scotland Beautiful’s annual seminar in November 2022. The group helped reverse pollinator decline by promoting pesticide-free, peat-free gardening and sustainable green space management amongst many other activities which focused on biodiversity in the area. They also recorded four new hoverflies and nine new species of moths last year!
Groups are expected to find ways of involving the wider community throughout the year, through activities such as fundraising events and linking up with others. This year, there is an optional theme of Health and Wellbeing to focus activities and events around.
Last year, volunteers across the country contributed almost 200,000 hours, equating to an economic value of over £2.5 million. Keep Scotland Beautiful, through it’s Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood initiatives, supports and gives national recognition to many thousands of volunteers who get out there and make a real difference to their local areas.
Juliette Camburn, Community Projects Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “It is becoming increasingly important to focus action on climate change and take positive steps to protect and enhance biodiversity in communities. Volunteers across Scotland make a huge contribution to the essential work being done to tackle the climate and nature emergency we are facing, helping make Scotland clean, green and sustainable for nature and people.
“We’d love people from well-established groups, through to those just starting out, to register for free support and recognition through the Beautiful Scotland or It’s Your Neighbourhood initiatives this year – joining a network of passionate people.”