A PARTNERSHIP looking to spruce up Alloa has been recognised by an environmental charity last week with not one but two awards for the town centre.

Alloa in Bloom, which has seen various groups and volunteers band together to bring a bit of colour into the town, has received a Gold Award from environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Part of the Beautiful Scotland awards, volunteers have been working hard to put in place floral arrangements and pockets of colour in what is a community environmental improvement programme.

The team also scooped the David Welch Memorial Award for Something Special, one of 13 discretionary awards which were up for grabs.

This award was presented for Alloa in Bloom's partnership with Gartinny Nursery, an outreach facility run by Scottish Autism which supplied high quality plants for the floral displays.

The team was led by Alloa First and co-ordinated by Anthea Coulter at CTSI.

Diane Brown, project manager at Alloa First, told the Advertiser: “It was unexpected to get the Gold Award as we haven't entered in the past three years.

“We felt we weren't in a position to enter and do ourselves justice, but in the last two years we've been doing a lot more around the town centre and felt it was a good opportunity this year to just dip our toes in the water and see how we got on.

“We are really overwhelmed to get gold and even more overwhelmed to get the David Welch Memorial Award.

“The judges were impressed with all the partnerships, in particular, the quality of plants from Gartinny Nursery and all the community groups that help and volunteer as well.”

She added: “What it demonstrates is that in Alloa we've got a really good sense of community, everybody was very keen to get involved and it's reaped the rewards.”

All part of the work, Alloa in Bloom put in place some 165 hanging baskets, nine large tiered planters, around 35 barrels, raised planters provided by Clacks Council which used to feature at roundabouts and a wildflower meadow.

Diane issued a note of thanks to volunteers from Scottish Autism's Gartinny Nursery, Play Alloa, Anthea Coulter and Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface (CTSI), and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Forth Valley Men's Shed for making planters along with Clackmannanshire Secondary Support Services and Apex Scotland.

Judges from Keep Scotland Beautiful were in Alloa earlier in August to see the work for themselves and the awards were given out at a virtual ceremony last week.

Barry Fisher, Chief Executive with Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We’re in a climate and nature emergency, but we know that communities across Scotland have been working tirelessly to protect and enhance their neighbourhoods, reconnecting with the environment and their communities despite the challenges lockdowns have posed.”

He added: “I’d like to thank everyone involved with Alloa in Bloom for all they do, and I’d encourage others to get involved next year and tap into the network which offers a wealth of support.”