Grow Wild is appealing for local votes as it strives for nationwide acclaim on BBC One in this year’s National Lottery Awards.
The project, whose flagship site in Wales is the Furnace to Flowers project in Ebbw Vale, beat off stiff competition from over 600 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.
Grow Wild is competing against six other projects to be crowned the winner of the Environment category. Winners of the seven National Lottery Awards categories will each get a £3,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glittering Awards ceremony in London, broadcast on BBC One in September.
Grow Wild is the UK’s biggest-ever wild flower campaign, bringing people together to transform local spaces with native, pollinator-friendly wild flowers and plants. Grow Wild is the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In Wales, Grow Wild has 51 Projects reaching thousands of people across Wales and transforming spaces with colour, beauty and wild life. In addition, around 100,000 people have been sowing native wild flower seeds all over Wales having requested the Free Grow Wild seed packets and seed kits.
Furnace to Flowers in Ebbw Vale, led by Gwent Wildlife Trust, is Grow Wild’s flagship project in Wales. The project will transform parts of the former Ebbw Vale Steelworks site into a space flourishing with wild flowers for both people and wildlife to thrive. Underused areas of the site will flourish with wild flowers, including sensory gardens, adventure areas and relaxation spots, in which both people and wildlife will thrive. The edge of the site will become a corridor of colour, with wild flowers reflecting the colours of the furnaces and cooling towers which once occupied the space – oranges and yellows, purples and blues. The site will provide a legacy for those who worked in the Ebbw Vale Steel Works, create a wild flower oasis for those who have lived with the consequences of deindustrialisation; and inspire future generations.
Philip Turvil, Grow Wild’s Programme Manager, says winning the prestigious National Lottery Award and having their work showcased on national television would be an honour: “We’re thrilled to reach the National Lottery Awards final. Thanks to Lottery money, three million people have come together to transform their local spaces, bringing colour and wildlife to urban areas. We’re hoping that people will support us now by voting. Receiving national recognition would be an incredible reward for everyone who has supported Grow Wild and been involved so far.”
TV star and actor John Barrowman will be presenting the National Lottery Awards for the sixth time this year. He says: “The National Lottery Awards are a great way to shine a spotlight on outstanding Lottery-funded projects. Now in their 13th year, the Awards celebrate the talent and dedication of the amazing staff and volunteers that run incredible life changing Lottery- funded projects for the benefit of their communities and the people who live in them.
“Your local project has worked very hard to become a finalist and they now need your support because the project with the most votes in each category will be crowned the winner.
“Projects receive funding thanks to National Lottery players who raise £36 million every single week for Good Causes across the UK such as Grow Wild.”
To vote for Grow Wild, please go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards or telephone 0844 836 9678 and follow the campaign on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs for four weeks from 9am on Wednesday 22 June until midnight on Wednesday 20 July.
There are seven projects competing for votes across seven categories, reflecting the main areas of National Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.