New ‘Elgin in Bloom’ bid hopes to take a leaf or two from Forres

AS THE SAYING GOES, mighty oaks from small acorns grow – and we hope that the Moray SOUP event being held in the Inkwell on Thursday, October 26 will be our acorn, and provide the financial boost we need to get ‘Elgin in Bloom’ off the ground, writes local councillor Raymond McLean.

For those of you who don’t know us, SPICE stands for Strategic Partnership for Improving the City of Elgin and was founded in 2011 with the aim of ridding Elgin of litter. We’ve gone from strength to strength over the years and now work with 12 partner groups, have been recognised by the Scottish Government and were recently awarded a level 4 ‘Your Neighbourhood’ award.

But with your help we can achieve even more.

Taking our inspiration from the long standing and highly successful ‘Forres in Bloom’ we have a vision of flowers springing up all over Elgin, the High St, Cooper Park – and really anywhere that could do with a splash of colour. It’s ambitious, as far as we`re concerned the best plans always are.

But we’re also realistic, we know that won’t all happen overnight. It’s going to take hard work, dedication and the support of local residents to make Elgin an even more welcoming place to live work and visit than it already is.

Since local government budget cuts forced the Council to withdraw from planting flowers across Moray I think it’s fair to say that some parts of Elgin have been left looking a little unloved.

It’s also fair to say that we’ve lagged behind some of our smaller neighbours in pulling together to replace the lost service.

Elgin community councillor, and chairman of SPICE, Steve Christie said: “Whilst the group is still very much dedicated to our founding purpose of ridding Elgin of litter, we feel now is the right time to expand our activities to include planting flowers around town. The group are all really looking forward to the challenge this new project brings.”

Elgin North Councillor Maria McLean added: “I’ve only been working with SPICE for a short time, but was immediately struck by how dedicated and enthusiastic the group is when it comes to making Elgin an even better place to live. I feel very fortunate to have joined at such an exciting time.”

The money we’ll be asking for on the night will be used to fund the planting of winter flowers in the bed outside Elgin town hall, which is looking particularly neglected at the moment. Our hope is that this will generate interest as well as volunteers, allowing us to press ahead with our more ambitious plans next Spring and Summer.

We’ll be in competition with some other great community projects for the funding, so it’s important as many of our supporters as possible come along. Your vote could ensure that flowers start returning to our beautiful city, so please do come along and help us make this happen!