Community groups across Scotland honoured at Beautiful Scotland awards

Groups supporting communities across the country to improve local environments and protect biodiversity were recognised at the Beautiful Scotland celebration and awards evening at the weekend.

Hosted by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, the annual Beautiful Scotland awards – held in person for the first time since 2019 – took place at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh on Friday 8 September.

Forty-five groups from all over Scotland were presented with awards and certificates for their efforts to improve, enhance and protect biodiversity and the places they care for and work and live in.

Judging visits took place during early August, with a team of Keep Scotland Beautiful volunteer judges considering groups’ efforts across three pillars: horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation.

This year there were a total of 24 awards available including, for 2023 only, a Health and Wellbeing award, supported by the Scottish Association for Mental Health, to celebrate this year’s theme.

As well as the multiple awards available, there are also four categories of medal certificate available to all judged entrants meeting the required criteria. All 45 entrants received a certificate, with nine winning Gold, six winning a Silver Gilt, two winning Silver and the 24 non-judged groups and our four Scottish UK finalists receiving Certificates of Recognition.

A non-judged category was introduced in 2021 for groups who wanted access to the support, resources and recognition available through the initiative but did not yet feel ready to participate in a judged category. At the ceremony, these groups were presented with a Certificate of Recognition, as were the four groups representing Scotland in the UK RHS Britain in Bloom finals later this year.

East Lothian group North Berwick in Bloom and Moray group Forres in Bloom were joint winners of the night’s top award, the prestigious Rosebowl.

Sandy Scott and Adrian Miles, the judges who visited North Berwick in Bloom, praised the group’s strong relationship with their local council, the beautifully presented WW1 memorial garden created and maintained by the council, verges which were planted with native wildflowers and its efforts to engage with other groups, businesses, schools, youth organisations and churches.

Forres in Bloom received a visit from judges Terry Stott and Penny Wright, who highlighted the ‘outstanding collaborative work of volunteers to beautify the town, be environmentally aware and engage the wider community’. They also praised the group for taking on so much of the work which previously was carried out by their local council.

The full list of winners can be found here.

Juliette Camburn, our Senior Officer, Community Initiatives, said: “I’d like to wish a huge congratulations to every single group who was honoured at this year’s Beautiful Scotland celebration and awards night. Being together in person to celebrate the collective efforts to improve local communities, after such a long absence, has been fantastic.

“We’re facing climate and nature crises in Scotland, and everyone must play their part to halt biodiversity loss, and to protect and enhance nature. The efforts of our groups, and all involved in their communities, is truly inspiring, ensuring their local areas are not only protected but improved for future generations.

“Every group thoroughly deserves their awards and recognition, and their collective effort is immensely appreciated.”

Keep Scotland Beautiful operates Beautiful Scotland in association with the Royal Horticultural Society. If you’re interested in joining the Beautiful Scotland family in 2024, find more information here: www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/beautifulscotland

08 September 2023

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