CRT's Boats In Bloom Awards

April 2017 - Ideas that unite boaters and other waterways users and initiatives that present an opportunity to improve navigation are welcomed by boaters – and two new public relations initiatives by the Canal & River Trust deserve a cheer or two, according to Peter Underwood.

It may be a pure PR stunt, but it does have the potential to give towpath users a better appreciation of boaters and boaters the rare chance to feel valued.

C&RT's Boat in Bloom awards offer both instant gratification and the chance to build long-term appreciation.

Of course corny quotes are essential in any C&RT press release and its Boats in Bloom initiative is launched with the words: “It’s blooming marvellous on the waterways” says the Canal & River Trust as it celebrates green-fingered boaters and waterside gardeners.”
side gardeners.” ​

The charity says it is launching its first-ever ‘Boats in Bloom’ awards to say thank you to the “many people who bring the waterways to life with plants and flowers”.

Starting in May, the Trust will be presenting colourful certificates to anyone whose boat or waterside planting is putting a smile on the face of passers-by. The charity is also calling on people to share photos of blossoming boats and waterways to create an online gallery to inspire and delight others.

There will also be a number of special prize categories for which people can nominate themselves or others. Nominations will run through to 31 July and will be whittled down to a shortlist by a judging panel. The shortlist will be published on the Trust’s website and boaters and waterway and gardening-lovers will be able to vote for their favourites.

Matthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Take a walk along any towpath and you’ll be likely to come across a boat or a garden that lifts your spirits with its beautiful blooms. With Boats in Bloom we’re saying thank you to all these gardeners who bring so much pleasure to other people.

“We’d love to see how boaters and waterside gardeners are transforming the space around them. If you have a favourite boat or towpath garden, or are especially proud of your own, please let us know. We want Boats in Bloom to raise a smile, give people ideas and maybe inspire them to try a spot of gardening, or boating, themselves.”

Beyond all the flowery quotes it is undeniable that, organised well, the scheme can give other canal users an appreciation of what boats bring to the waterways as well as increasing the general levels of prettiness at the interface between canals and the public.

Boaters will feel more appreciated by C&RT – something sorely lacking at present – and will be encouraged to take even more pride in their vessels.

The special prize categories are:

Boats in Bloom
· Most flower filled boat
· Most edible growing boat
· Most imaginative use of space

Towpaths in Bloom
· Best towpath garden or open space
· Best towpath business in bloom
· Best wildlife friendly towpath gardening initiative

To find out more about Boats in Bloom please visit:

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