Bloom campaign given fresh new look

Published: 7 May 2024

The borough’s Heart of England in Bloom campaign is being given a new look for 2024.
An eye-catching floral display in Newcastle town centre's Queen's Gardens.

The borough’s Heart of England in Bloom campaign is being given a new look for 2024.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council – highly respected entrants in the regional horticultural competition for more than 30 years – is teaming up with Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District (BID) to shine the spotlight on Newcastle town centre this year.

The partners are joining forces, bringing together resources and sponsorship, to compete in the BID category for the first time, encouraging collaboration between businesses and communities.

Heart of England in Bloom is a prestigious competition that celebrates the efforts of communities in enhancing the environment and improving quality of life for residents and visitors. Part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom campaign, it focuses on various aspects such as sustainability, environmental responsibility, cleanliness, community engagement, horticulture and town animation.  

The new partnership aligns with the Council’s priority of “town centres for all” and the BID’s commitment to create a welcoming and attractive town.

The long-running borough-wide campaign, traditionally co-ordinated by the Council, has won a multitude of awards over the past three decades, culminating in Newcastle-under-Lyme winning national and regional gold medals – as well as being declared the overall Britain in Bloom winner – during the borough’s 850th anniversary celebrations last year.

Local schoolchildren plant out some of the town centre tubs thanks to the “Pledge” scheme and many local businesses sponsor hanging baskets and roundabouts, raising around £50,000 each year which more than covers the modest cost of entering the competition.

Cllr. Craig Skelding, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Heritage, said:

We are really excited about our new partnership with the BID. The Council has had a very long and distinguished career in Heart of England in Bloom, so it has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share.


Having enjoyed success at all levels of the competition, now is the time to take Newcastle’s campaign in a different direction. This is a fantastic opportunity for the Council and BID to work together, involving businesses and green-fingered communities, on their shared priority of making Newcastle town centre more vibrant and welcoming for everyone.


This is far more than just flowers; Britain in Bloom brings everyone together to make an area a more pleasant place to live, work, shop and visit.”

Charl Pearce, BID Manager, added:

As we join forces for Heart of England in Bloom, it’s inspiring to see the portfolio of initiatives delivered by the BID, Council, community groups and businesses within the town. By consolidating our efforts, we're not only embracing the spirit of the competition but also showcasing the remarkable work already underway within our BID area.


Take, for example, John Pass Jewellers, who recently took it upon themselves to plant flowers outside their shop on the Ironmarket. Their initiative exemplifies the commitment of businesses to beautify our surroundings and underscores the importance of taking pride in our town. Businesses like John Pass Jewellers play a vital role in fostering a sense of community.


Moreover, town centre businesses actively participate in tidy days alongside members of the public. This collaborative effort reinforces the notion that a thriving community is built on shared responsibility and collective action.”

A spokesperson for STOCK, Newcastle-under-Lyme’s newest bar and restaurant, said:

STOCK has a prime position at the gateway of the town of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and we are fortunate to have taken over the herb garden located at the front of our premises. In a joint effort with the Council, BID and local students from Newcastle College, we have cleaned, maintained and planted new herbs and foliage to allow us to bring this space back to life and create something together as a community that we can all be proud of by increasing its appeal and appearance and making accessible to all. 


We have our second community clean up coming up which demonstrates us all working towards a common goal of pride and purpose, and we hope to entice more people back to the High Street in the process.”