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Gardening contest a bloomin’ success for Sunderland community

Gentoo staff with Alan Bradley.
Gentoo staff with Alan Bradley.

Green-fingered Sunderland residents are celebrating their blooming success.

Earlier this year Gentoo urged people across Sunderland to pull on their gardening gloves and show pride in their community by running its Give it a Grow gardening competition.

Alan Bradley's beautiful garden.

Alan Bradley's beautiful garden.

The housing group’s annual competition encourages its tenants and local schools to use their horticultural skills to help the environment and improve the appearance of the community.

Now, the winners of the competition, which is in its third year, are celebrating taking the top prizes.

First place for the Most Improved and Interesting Garden went to Gentoo customer, Alan Bradley, whose beautifully decorated garden at his Houghton home is overflowing with vibrant geraniums, begonias, fuschias and sunflowers.

Mr Bradley said: “I didn’t think an amateur had any chance of winning - it feels absolutely brilliant, it’s made my year.”

I didn’t think an amateur had any chance of winning - it feels absolutely brilliant

Alan Bradley

Pupils at Ryhope Infant School are also celebrating after scooping first place for their entry in the Best School Garden/Greenhouse category.

The school has been developing its garden since 2012 and pupils impressed the judges with their quirky allotment, which includes beautiful hanging baskets, a greenhouse made from more than 1,000 plastic bottles, a minibeast hotel to shelter insects and animals and a hoover which was refabricated to make a flower planter.

Susan Reed, headteacher of Ryhope Infant School, said: “It feels absolutely fantastic to win the competition and it is testament to the pupils’ hard work.

“The children love coming outside and do a lot of their curriculum work in the garden. They’re absolutely thrilled that they’ve won the competition.”

Pupils and staff at Ryhope Infant School with Gentoo staff.

Pupils and staff at Ryhope Infant School with Gentoo staff.

Michelle Meldrum, executive director (operations), Gentoo said: “At Gentoo, we believe in encouraging people to have pride in their local community.

“Gardening has so many benefits and can improve our physical, psychological and social health and is a great way to bring people together.

“Give it a Grow is one of the many ways we invest in communities and we hope to continue inspiring people to make a positive difference in our city.”

Gentoo offers Aspire Grants of up to £500 to support a range of activities for voluntary, community groups and community-led causes throughout Sunderland.

For further information about how to apply, visit: www.gentoogroup.com.