Green group needs helpers

A BLOOMING marvellous community group is searching for green-fingered volunteers to help them spread flower power across the town.

Matlock In Bloom Committee, which is run by volunteers, is looking for more supporters to help them make the town an attractive place to work, live and visit.

The group improves the area through the imaginative use of trees, shrubs, flowers and landscaping.

But the horticultural campaigners mission is not just about pretty floral decorations – it is also about maintaining a litter free and sustainable environment.

While floral displays play an important part in the contest, the competition has increasingly assessed how all sectors of the community are managing their environment and focus is also placed on allotments and encouraging people to grow their own food.

Tottie Holden, of Upper Lumsdale, who has been involved with the committee for a few years, said: “The council said they were desperate for people to get involved with Matlock in Bloom. I’ve always been interested in gardening so I thought I’d give it a try and after the first meeting I was hooked.

“Volunteers go round Matlock to see what needs doing and which areas need to be tidied up but we could always do with more eyes and ears to help keep the town looking pleasant.

“You do get a feeling you are helping to improve your surroundings and I would urge anyone who has an interest in the area and who respects their surroundings to get involved.”

The town takes part in the annual East Midlands in Bloom competition which marks Matlock on its horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation.

The competition aims to improve the appearance and cleanliness of the area, focus on recycling and sustainability issues and give the tourism industry a boost.

Over 1,000 communities enter nationwide each year and from these regional competitions, roughly 70 communities are selected to enter the national finals of Britain in Bloom.

Judging takes place in June and July.

Last year the Dales was heralded as one of the most blooming areas in the East Midlands.

School children and adults in towns and villages across the district scooped up awards in many of the categories, with an impressive number of silver awards won for work carried out in Matlock, Bakewell, Tansley and Middleton by Wirksworth.

Matlock took home a silver award in the town category thanks to Transition Matlock’s Kiln Park Community Orchard project impressing the judges.

Chair of Matlock’s committee, Barry Hopkinson, said they currently had only ten members.

He added: “We need people with ideas to get involved.

“The main thing we are interested in is keeping Matlock looking nice but it is not just about fancy flowers and hanging baskets, it is about environmental issues, cleanliness, discouraging anti-social behaviour and making the town a safer place to live.”

The group meets once a month on Mondays at 6pm in Matlock’s Imperial Rooms.

As part of Hall Leys Park’s centenary celebrations Matlock in Bloom will be hosting a plant exchange event in the award-winning park in May.

To find out more about Matlock in Bloom or to get involved contact Barry Hopkinson on 01629 56822 or Matlock Town Council on 01629 583042.

* If you would like to be featured in our Lend a Hand campaign, which aims to get more people volunteering in the community and raise the profile of the area’s voluntary groups email news@matlockmercury.co.uk or call 01629 762120.