Community groups enjoy the sweet smell of success at prestigious awards ceremony

Community groups across the North-east have been presented with a prestigious environmental award.

The 30 groups were recognised by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful for running successful community initiatives, celebrating their continued community participation, commitment to their environment and local gardening achievements.

Seven of the groups received a Certificate of Distinction, level five, for their work.

The accolades were awarded at a ceremony in Stirling – which was attended by more than
200 people – and groups were recognised for their efforts in cleaning up and making their communities more beautiful.

The 2017 It’s Your Neighbourhood initiative supported 142 projects from across Scotland, 33 of which were new entrants, and 32 entrants received the prestigious Certificate of Distinction.

The recipients from Aberdeen included six groups that received a Certificate of Distinction:

  • Cummings Park Community Flat
  • Friends of Duthie Park
  • Friends of Union Terrace Gardens
  • Garthdee Field Allotments Association
  • Nether Loirston Growers Association and Slopefield Allotment Association
  • Kincardine O’Neil in Bloom took home the title for Aberdeenshire.

The main focus of the Kincardine O’Neil in Bloom group is the planting of 60 flower tubs each year to brighten up the historic village.

The group also takes on other projects to improve the local environment, including litter pick days, dog waste campaigns and tree planting.

Co-ordinator of Kincardine O’Neil in Bloom Susan Farquharson said: “We were very pleased with what we’ve been able to achieve and it’s all down to the high level of effort put in by a lot of people in the village doing their bit.

“For the future, we will continue trying to improve the environment in the village and we’ll soon start sorting things out for the winter.”

Another group recognised was Garthdee Field Allotment Association, who have about 100 plotters working on half, full or micro allotments and a growing team of volunteers who help to look after the grounds.

Chairman of the organisation Stuart Oram said: “We’ve been focussing our involvement with the wider community and working with a lot of volunteers.

“This year we fundraised to get an octagonal shelter for the allotment.

“We will continue to help improve the qualityof our environment.”

Councillor Ian Yuill, who represents the Garthdee area, said: “I think the association should be proud of themselves and my congratulations go to all involved.”

Chairman of the board of charity trustees at Keep Scotland Beautiful Dr Lindsay Montgomery said: “I would like to congratulate all of the 2017 It’s Your Neighbourhood participants.

“Their hard work, enthusiasm and commitment has helped to improve local environments Scotland-wide and for which I thank them on behalf of the charity.

“Keep Scotland Beautiful recently reported that local environmental quality standards across Scotland have reached their lowest point in a decade.

“Local action, such as the hard work of It’s Your Neighbourhood volunteers, goes a long way in helping to tackle the problem.

“These awards celebrate community efforts to improve environments throughout Scotland.

“Every single volunteer has helped towards creating more vibrant communities and protecting our precious local spaces – making a significant difference to neighbourhoods the length and breadth of the country.”

The It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign is run by Keep Scotland Beautiful in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

It’s Your Neighbourhood is a non-competitive initiative that places particular emphasis on community participation.

RHS head of community outreach Andrea Van-Sittart said: “Well done to all the Scottish It’s Your Neighbourhood groups who have given up their time to improve their local areas for residents and visitors alike.

“Between them, they make a huge contribution to keeping Scotland clean, green and beautiful.”