Introduction from Pam Grant, President of Harrogate in Bloom
"It must be fair to say that Harrogate justly deserves its position of 'floral town of the north'. It has won numerous In Bloom awards regionally, nationally and internationally - indeed it is the only town to have won Entente Florale twice. But in recent years, the In Bloom criteria places just as much emphasis on environmental and community involvement as it does on floral/horticultural excellence.
"For a number of years many local groups have worked with Harrogate in Bloom and Harrogate Borough Council when putting together Harrogate's entry in such awards. And to take account of this shifting emphasis, Team Harrogate was piloted for the Yorkshire in Bloom awards 2015. The aim was to bring together the various groups under this one umbrella by completing the entry form as 'Team Harrogate' so it is clear to the judges that Harrogate's entry is a joint effort.
"I am delighted to say that the judges of Yorkshire in Bloom 2015 were very impressed with this approach and it may have helped us take Gold for Harrogate and our subsequent invitation to enter Britain in Bloom 2016 where we also won our category again with a Gold medal.
"In all honesty I don't think that Harrogate in Bloom or the council could continue to accept all the glory of winning these awards without proper recognition of all who help.
"Whilst there has been overwhelming support from the piloted Team Harrogate to formally adopt this approach for future entries, some group members have been a little confused which is why I thought it would be a good idea to pull together this explanatory document.
"It will be useful for current and future members of the community groups which make up Team Harrogate, but will also be valuable to explain to other stakeholders such as the Chamber of Trade, Civic Society etc. We will also use it for the judging portfolio to properly explain the rationale of entering as Team Harrogate. It will also be used for publicity purposes, such as media releases, group websites, newsletters, magazine articles etc.
"We have drafted the document in a Q&A format. If you think we haven't fully explained something or you have another question, please don't hesitate to contact me.
"I want to finish by thanking every single member of Team Harrogate for all that you do to put the 'great' in Harrogate."
Team Harrogate launched for judging 2016
Why Team Harrogate?
As Pam explained in her introduction, the title of 'In Bloom awards' has become something of a misnomer in recent years in that the local authority can only gain a maximum of 50 per cent of the marks and the rest of the marks are community based.
This has meant that Harrogate in Bloom and Harrogate Borough Council have relied more and more on any number of local voluntary groups to respond to the judging criteria. And it is only fair that their support is fully recognised during the judging process, giving them the opportunity to attend workshops and award ceremonies and feature in publicity surrounding the In Bloom awards.
That is the simple rationale behind entering regional, national and International In Bloom competitions as Team Harrogate.
Does this mean that some of these groups will be subsumed?
No. It must be emphasised that the individual groups which make up Team Harrogate now and in the future will remain as single entities - as indeed will Harrogate in Bloom. They will continue with their own individual aims and objectives being responsible for their own projects, activities, funding etc.
Who will be responsible for administering Harrogate's entry in the In Bloom awards?
Just as now, Harrogate in Bloom, working with the council, will continue to be responsible for the basic funding and administration of the town's entry. Harrogate in Bloom will continue to prepare the portfolio/ judges tour etc but with increasing input from other groups which make up Team Harrogate.
Does this mean that my group can't make its own entry?
Not at all. If any group wants to enter the specialist categories within the In Bloom competitions they are free to do so. In fact we would encourage it. It is only the town entry which will go in under the umbrella title of Team Harrogate.
How can I find out more and keep in touch?
We would love you to keep in touch. Listed below are the contact details for the groups which make up Team Harrogate.
Harrogate in Bloom
President - Pam Grant
Find us at www.facebook.com/teamharrogate
Follow us at @HarrogateBloom
Harrogate Borough Council
Community Engagement Officer (Parks and Environmental Services) - Joanne Rider
Friends of the Valley Gardens
Pinewoods Conservation Group
Find us at www.facebook.com/PinewoodsConservationGroup
Follow us at @PinewoodsHgt
Harrogate District Biodiversity Action Group
Follow us at Hgte Biodiversity@HDBAG
North of England Horticultural Society (Harrogate Flower Shows)
Harrogate and District Allotments' Federation
Bilton Conservation Group
Keith Wilkinson MBE, Honorary Secretary
Harrogate Civic Society
Chairman Henry Pankhurst
Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce
Rossett Nature Reserve
Sam Walker, Countryside Ranger
Harrogate Borough Council
Woodfield Millennium Green (Millie's Green)
Angela Davies, Secretary to the Trustees
01423 772860/0780 168 6125
Follow us on @MillieWGreen
Hookstone and Stonefall Action Group
Chairman, Alan Firth
Secretary, Edna Barker
Bachelor Field Friends' Group
Eric Wright, Chairman
01423 567505/07825 404441
Woodlands Community Group
Garden Project Leader, Catherine Baxter
Jo Clark, HLTA
Mark Fenton, Director of Social Inclusion