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Forres In Bloom needs new blood to help its ageing core group of volunteers keep the town beautiful


By Garry McCartney

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Volunteers Jackie Snowden and Barry Ashby at one of the numerous flower displays Grant Park in Forres.
Volunteers Jackie Snowden and Barry Ashby at one of the numerous flower displays Grant Park in Forres.

THE town’s most recognised volunteer group is in need of new blood to help keep Forres looking at its best.

For the last three decades, Forres In Bloom (FIB) members have maintained high standards by working with local partners and young people to enhance quality of life and create better and sustainable environments in the historic Royal Burgh.

Over the years, the town has won gold medals in Britain in Bloom, Champion of Champions and Beautiful Scotland competitions, and, in 2019, collected the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Forres in Bloom secretary Sandra Maclennan and chairwoman Diane McGregor with teammates at the Wee FIBees garden at Grant Park.
Forres in Bloom secretary Sandra Maclennan and chairwoman Diane McGregor with teammates at the Wee FIBees garden at Grant Park.

However, secretary Sandra Maclennan points out that of the 20 regular volunteers at present, most are in the 45 to 95 age range.

She said: “If FIB is to continue, it needs younger volunteers.

“The core group is six people who attend every day. Our Sunday squad is the biggest attendance at the same time. We are at the FIB nursery between 11am and 4pm. Volunteers come and go between these times, and choose which tasks they wish to complete.”

In 2013, Moray Council reduced its support to local groups including FIB.

However, with the support of the community, FIB has continued to thrive, based at its professional-standard nursery where the plants required for displays throughout the town are grown.

Financial support from residents and businesses allows the group to continue to demonstrate the thinking behind their motto: We Love Where We Live’.

FIB teams and individuals look after specific areas such as the Market Green roundabout, the Cassieford display, St Laurence Church, Market Green beds and the war veterans’ cottages.

Bob Davidson and Marion King at the NHS tribute near Market Green.
Bob Davidson and Marion King at the NHS tribute near Market Green.

Encouraged by FIB, Forres Academy looks after a bed at the Royal British Legion (Scotland) and Anderson’s Primary looks after the raised beds outside the school. Guides and Brownies also help to clear detritus in the park whilst youth group Wee FIBbees usually look after the garden beside the FIB Nursery at Grant Park.

Sandra said: “Gardening knowledge and expertise is not a requirement. There are many routine maintenance tasks, just as in a home garden although on a much larger scale.

“However there is the opportunity to learn more about gardening from our knowledgeable and experienced core team.”

She finished: “Gardening is good for mental, physical and social wellbeing. FIB is a very sociable group where everyone enjoys a laugh with their tea and home baked cakes!”

Contact Sandra via email at ian.maclennan3@btinternet.com or call her on 01309 641342 for more information.



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