2016 marks GFAA’s third year in the It’s Your Neighbourhood Scheme. We achieved a Thriving assessment at our first go and now we have an Outstanding ranking to defend in 2016 after our success last year. Outstanding is the highest award possible. Taking part in IYN has been a source of good advice on growing, the environment and building a better community, but just as importantly, it has helped us open doors to getting more external funding for our site and facilities.
This last month Norman and I took part in a workshop to help us prepare for this year’s assessment. It’s an important year as 2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of Britain in Bloom. The workshop was hosted jointly by IYN, The Royal Horticultural Society and Aberdeen City Council.
Some of the key messages for our preparation included:
- keeping in touch and seeking advice
- using online resources from IYN and RHS
- using print and digital comms to get our message across
- have a vision of where we want to go
- marking the 50th Anniversary in some way
- building partnerships with others
- seeking Council officer and elected member involvement
- celebrate our successes and good news stories locally and nationally
- get all ages involved
- use the council media office to help with the press
- think about sustainability and long term vitality
- don’t stand still and get stuck in ruts.
So, we have lots to get on with then! I and any of the committee members will welcome all suggestions and discussions about our key developments and plans for the future – and of course help to prepare our site for the upcoming IYN Assessment visit.