CLOUD HANGS OVER IN BLOOM

PENTAX Image

PENTAX Image

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There are real fears for the future of St Andrews in Bloom, the local team which spearheads efforts to brighten up the university town.

The alarm bells have been sounded by its chairman, local businessman Ray Pead, who has highlighted lack of finance and people power in the form of volunteers.

While those behind the rejuvenated St Andrews in Bloom campaign - already buoyed by recent successes at local and national level - received a further boost this week after receiving detailed judging comments in the Beautiful Fife and Beautiful Scotland competitions, there are now concerns for the group’s future.

In a hard-hitting statement, Mr Pead told the Citizen:”At the very time we are celebrating our great success and have hopes to make things even better for 2013, our very small team of volunteers are instead, extremely concerned about the future.

“Annual running costs for each campaign are around £10,000 and that is simply to repeat the 2012 level of activity. This is money which we do not have.

“Many people still assume that St Andrews in Bloom is funded and carried out by Fife Council, but the fact is that although the council is supportive in many ways, it provides only about 10 per cent of our running costs. The remainder has to be raised from local donations and is an annual struggle to achieve.”

This year the group received welcome donations from the St Andrews Partnership, the R&A, Stayinstandrews, the Merchants’ Association and the B&B Association, as well as a handful from other generous local businesses and clubs.

UNREALISTIC

Mr Pead added:”However, it is unrealistic to expect this small number of organisations to continue their support at current levels, year after year.

”Furthermore, we desperately need more hands-on help to assist with tasks such as planting out and caring for the 200 hanging baskets and planters which adorn the town. All of these stunning displays, which are so widely admired, are created each year by just four people. Just imagine what could be achieved if we had a dozen more helpers.