First spring seminar helps launch Floral Gateway 2019

Speakers form various companies standing for photo

Published: Tuesday, 02nd April 2019

Over 20 community groups attended the Scottish Borders’ first ever Spring Seminar which helped launch this year’s Floral Gateway competition.

Spring seminar

The event saw speakers from a range of organisations and charities provide information and advice to local groups on a variety of topics including:

  • biodiversity
  • sustainable food production
  • potential funding streams

There was an opportunity to sign up for Floral Gateway 2019, recognising the efforts of communities to maintain the region.

Neighbourhoods Review

Groups were also provided with an update on the Neighbourhoods Review, which has been implementing changes to ensure environmental and financial sustainability of our services. The seminar reflected on the changes made last year to grasscutting maintenance, as well as proposals on the alternatives to bedding plant provision to be made this autumn, biodiversity and new wildflower areas due to be introduced.

Community proposals

Groups were given the chance to discuss specific proposals in their communities and creative ideas for the future which were aided by a series of spring seminar speakers who offered evidence of how groups can play their part to do things differently. They included:

  • Lisa Brydon, Wilton Lodge Park Volunteer Co-ordinator
  • John Wilkinson, Borders Beekeepers Association
  • Karen Birch, charity Abundant Borders
  • Shona Smith, our Communities and Partnerships Manager
  • Andrew Hogarth, East Lothian Council’s Amenity Services team

More details of the specific proposals for each community will be available within the next month on our website, with community groups welcome to get in touch in the meantime to discuss their local area.

Floral Gateway 2019


There are five classes which communities can enter:

  • Wee Village with a maximum population of 300
  • Small Village with a population between 301 and 1,000
  • Large Village with a population between 1,001 and 2,500
  • Town with a population over 2,500
  • Champion of Champions - each class winner from the previous year judged against each other

You can enter the Community Awards even if you are not entering the Floral Gateway competition.

The Community Awards are:

  • The Welcome Award - For first time entrants (or those returning after a lengthy absence) to the Floral Gateway competition
  • The Quality of Life Award – One or more award in each of our five areas (Berwickshire, Cheviot, Eildon, Teviot and Liddesdale and Tweeddale). This award will recognise the significant impact that a project, initiative or ongoing community involvement in each area has made to support, promote and enhance the quality of life in that area
  • The Clean and Tidy Award – This award will be determined by the points given for ‘Cleanliness’ as part of the judging of the Floral Gateway competition
  • The Border Biodiversity Award – Where a project, initiative or community wishes to be considered for their efforts in increasing the biodiversity of the region. This could be through local food production, recycling or through enhancing the region as a result of changed environmental management or maintenance

Entries for the Floral Gateway 2019 can be made now, with entry details and forms are available.

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Locality Services

“The first ever Scottish Borders Spring Seminar proved an excellent opportunity to engage with communities on a range of topics.

“The speakers provided the groups with plenty of imaginative ideas and highlighted how working together can ensure we all play our part to maintain our beautiful region for local people and visitors.

“We know 2018 was a challenging year in terms of the changes to grasscutting maintenance but we need to do things differently due to the significant financial challenges we are now facing.

“This year that means deciding what to do with bedding plants, with options including introducing hardy annual or perennial flowering plants or turfing over areas, which is why the input of local community groups is so important ahead of any decisions being made.

“We are also now focussing on improving the biodiversity of the Borders and we would again like to hear from more community groups or organisations who want to engage with us on this topic.

“This includes any groups wanting to enter the Floral Gateway awards which take place in September, when we hope to host another seminar following the success of our first one.”

Further Information

An image of the Spring Seminar speakers, Floral Gateway logo and past winners is available on our Flickr page.

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004), all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities.