Rugby at its blooming best for judge's tour of the town

A JUDGE from Heart of England in Bloom has taken a tour of the town.
The Heart of England in Bloom tour ended with lunch at the Benn Partnership Centre, where judge Joe Hayden met centre manager Vivien Kajoro and the Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Simon Ward.
10 July 2024

The judge visited Rugby yesterday (Tuesday 9 July) and toured a number of the borough's horticultural highlights, including Caldecott Park, Jubilee Gardens and the floral displays in the town centre.

The tour also stopped off at Rugby School and Newbold's Riverside Academy, and highlighted the council's work with partners and volunteers to boost biodiversity in the borough with a visit to Swift Valley Park.

Rugby's entry for this year's Heart of England in Bloom took inspiration from a number of 2024's major milestones and events, including the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Olympic Games in Paris.

In Caldecott Park, the judge visited the edible garden maintained by Independent Support Solutions (ISS), a social care company for adults with learning disabilities.

Members of ISS had given the garden an Olympic makeover and talked the judge through the varieties of vegetables and herbs which have been planted this year.

The Olympics also inspired pupils at Riverside Academy, where the school's sensory garden, wildflowers and polytunnels packed with vegetables were complemented by a 'swimming pool' complete with Team GB swimmers and the Olympic rings.

Meeting volunteers at Swift Valley Park, the judge was told about the council's partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to create and enhance a diverse range of habitats in the borough to support wildlife, flora and fauna.

Volunteers from the wildlife trust and organisations such as Warwickshire Butterfly Conservation and Rugby Wildlife Group play a vital part in supporting the borough's conservation work, contributing 9,000 hours of volunteering at green spaces every year.

During the tour, the judge also learned about the council's ongoing programme of park and play area refurbishments - including the recent revamp at Bilton's Apple Grove, which secured a £100,000 grant from the FCC Communities Foundation - and plans to expand the borough's Park Connector Network of 'green' travel corridors.

The tour ended with lunch at the Benn Partnership Centre, where the Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Simon Ward, greeted the touring party and joined diners.

Cllr Ward said: "The borough's entry to Heart of England in Bloom brings the whole community together, from primary school pupils tending to school gardens to community organisations such as the Benn Partnership Centre creating colourful, floral displays.

"It's a real team effort and the hard work of all the council teams, sponsors, schools, volunteers, businesses and organisations which backed Rugby's In Bloom bid has been rewarded with a fantastic entry to this year's contest.

"I'd also like to thank everyone at the Benn Partnership Centre for such a warm welcome and wonderful lunch," he added.

Heart of England in Bloom, part of the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom campaign, encourages communities to transform the environment through gardening.

Rugby has won gold at the Heart of England in Bloom Awards 15 years in a row.

This year's award ceremony takes place at Meriden's Manor Hotel in September.