Stanley, and two other County Durham towns, are getting ready for this year’s Northumbria in Bloom competition.
The three entries are led by local community groups and have the support of Durham County Council.
The competition will see Stanley competing in the ‘regional town’ section of the competition, Durham City competing in the ‘small city’ category, and Chester-le-Street competing in the ‘large town’ part of the contest.
Northumbria in Bloom is the voluntary regional organisation that administers the Britain in Bloom competition in Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and Teesside on behalf of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
The RHS judges will descend on Stanley today (Tuesday 12th April). They will visit Chester-le-Street on Wednesday 26th April and Durham City on Thursday 27th April.
The judges will assess the horticultural developments and projects that have taken place in each of the three locations so far. The judges will again visit in July and what they see during both visits will help them to make their decisions.
The results of the competition will be announced in September.
County Durham’s entries certainly have a lot to live up to this year.
Last year, Durham City won gold in Northumbria in Bloom’s ‘champion of champions’ category and even clinched gold in the Royal Horticultural Society’s national Britain in Bloom competition.
In 2016, Stanley scooped silver in its category, despite it being only the second time the town had entered an In Bloom competition.
As well as the three Durham County Council backed bids, there are numerous other County Durham entries led by community groups and town and parish councils.
Britain in Bloom has been helping towns, villages and neighbourhoods use gardening skills to improve their local environments since 1964.
More than 3,000 local groups participate in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood schemes each year. Both schemes focus on using community action to transform spaces.
The groups that get involved with Britain in Bloom report a range of benefits such as cleaner, greener and safer neighbourhoods, an increase in community pride and a boost to local businesses and tourism.