What happened next? Catching up with our 2018 entrants

We will shortly be announcing the categories for the 2020 CPRE Bedfordshire Living Countryside Awards. We caught up with some of the entrants in our 2018 Awards to find out what winning an award meant to them and what they have been doing since.

Sharnbrook Castle Close Wildlife & Heritage Site commissioned a totem pole carved with some of the invertebrates found on the site. It is about 10 foot high, carved in oak by two local wood carvers. They won a CPRE Mark in the Biodiversity & Landscape Improvement category. The judges were impressed by the work done by volunteers in undertaking surveys and the totem pole is a fantastic visual representation of some of the species found on the site.

Groundwork East won a special CPRE Mark for the range of projects undertaken across Bedfordshire. One project was community food growing hubs which are going from strength to strength. Groundwork East have since become involved in the Veg Cities campaign which is a campaign helping schools to grow, cook, share and eat more vegetables, helping them to expand the hubs. During summer 2019 groups and individuals were invited to help plant up the community gardens, care for them and harvest the produce. Sessions have been delivered that focus on food growing, healthy eating and mental well-being.

food growing

Incredible Edible in Dunstable received their CPRE Mark in the Greening Urban Spaces category. In February 2019 they started to raise funds to create a new wheelchair accessible garden, using Eco Plastic Wood for the raised beds. This product is made from recycled coffee cups and will never rot or need painting. The garden was installed in May, the local community came together to raise the funds and help with the installation. To celebrate there was a huge Big Lunch party on Saturday 1st June which organiser Sahira tells us was “dedicated to man’s best friend and everyone brought their dogs.” They also had the very first flash mob in Dunstable, dancing to ‘Happy’.

Friends of Bedford Cemetery let us know how they felt about their Highly Commended Award for Biodiversity & Landscape Improvement. “It’s nice to get recognition, for people to see that you’ve achieved something.” The award has helped make them keener to progress. Educational initiatives with schools have developed; they have become a Bedford Creative Arts Culture Challenge Provider and are looking forward to working more closely with Artsmark schools and supporting the arts and creativity elements of the national curriculum.

Edible High Town were Highly Commended in the Greening Urban Spaces category, it is a volunteer led project which since the awards has continued to work hard to transform previously unloved spaces.

Thatcher at work

Chris Dodson Thatching received a Highly Commended Award in the Sustainable Enterprise category. “Our involvement in the Sustainable Enterprise section, always reminds me of how as a business we should operate. There is sustainability in enterprise, training and so on, as well as trying to source materials from sustainable sources.” Chris also wrote very movingly about the influence of his Grandfather, also a thatcher, on his outlook.

Bletsoe Lady Smockers were commended in the Biodiversity & Landscape Improvement category. “It was exciting to get the award and we were so proud to tell the village about it and received kind comments. It has given us confidence to carry on the work and begin to try some new things”. Ideas for the future include creating a stumpery in a dark part of the field for young people to enjoy, a daffodil planting day for villagers to plant up bulbs for spring and organising bat watching evenings.

Nominations will open soon so please start thinking about projects near you that might want to enter the 2020 Awards.

Edible High Town
Edible High Town - Luton
Quernmore landscape