How £10,000 a year buys us a host of fabulous flowers

March 28 2016

By the time you read this I hope we will be having some more clement weather than we are now.

By the time you read this I hope we will be having some more clement weather than we are now. Unfortunately due to the winds and frost that we have had we needed to replace some of the polyanthus in our wooden planters. The daffodils and crocus however, have once again been beautiful and hopefully we will now be enjoying the wallflowers as well.
Life continues to be busy for Downend and Bromley Heath in Bloom. We have just had our first committee meeting of the year and spent time planning our summer planting and discussing our fund raising activities for this year.
With regard to fundraising I thought it would be a good idea to inform readers of how our group works.  We are a completely independent group which was set up in July 2014 by Chris Boulton who at the time was a parish councillor. We are all volunteers and take no salary so every penny we raise goes towards the floral display.   The group consists of 30 people who all have the same aim – to make our local area look beautiful by providing floral and plant displays. We are a self funding group and rely completely on grants, sponsorship, donations and fundraising events.  
Our first meeting at St Augustine’s Church was well attended and the group was brimming full of ideas for the types of displays that we wanted to provide as well as ideas for financing the group. We have spent many hours looking for sponsors and people that would be happy to donate to our efforts as well as running stalls at local events in order to inform residents of our work and to raise funds.  We have also been blessed to receive roughly half of our funding from the parish council and we owe a big thank you to them.
We actually need roughly £10,000 a year to fund all of our planting and I thought it might be interesting for residents to have an insight into where the funds that we raise are allocated. The two large baskets at the top of the poles in Downend village cost £125 each for planting up and watering throughout the summer.  Rail baskets are £110 and plants for around the trees in Downend are in the region of £310.  We then have our wooden remote planters which also need compost, gel which expands to curb the need for watering every day and various plants.  This year we also have our three large six-tier planters which we were able to buy with a grant of £2,500 from the Chase Forum and these will cost a total of £885 to plant out.  If you are good at maths you will probably already have added up these items and reached a very high figure!  This is only a proportion of our budget as we then have winter planting, new planters we are making, trees to plant and the list goes on. I also forgot to mention that if we need new poles for baskets they cost £240 each to supply and erect, plus a licence obtained from South Gloucestershire Council. I think I will stop there as my husband is treasurer and I am beginning to be horrified by the total of our costs!  However I hope that this give you an insight into how we fund all of the flowers, plants and trees that you see around the area.
To return to our agenda, one item which I am sure will interest you is the discussion on the Wild Flower meadows we are planting this summer. Again these are expensive as we need to buy good quality seed in order to get a good display. We are having beds all around the area and are also underplanting some of the trees with a circle of wild flowers at their base. We have sourced the seed from the same supplier that Bristol City Council used last year, as their beds were beautiful and the displays seemed to go on forever.  We also discussed maybe planting a tree to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday. If anyone has any further ideas of what we could do for this occasion maybe they could let us know                        Jackie Baker