Hanging baskets and public flowerbeds help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, a new survey has suggested. According to the poll conducted by the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS), community gardening schemes improve the local environment and bring neighbourhoods together. The RHS said that while the image of the Britain in Bloom scheme it runs is of “pretty villages in south-east England with hanging baskets”, it could also deliver social and environmental benefits in cities and towns.

The survey of more than 230 Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood groups revealed that half of the communities thought the schemes had reduced crime and anti-social behaviour, and 40 percent said their local environment was safer.

Nine out of ten groups said the highest impact of being involved in the schemes was on community development, with their gardening projects bringing people together for the first time.

Two thirds worked with local schools in their area, and four fifths said they felt more civic pride and the horticulture schemes raised their aspirations for their neighbourhoods.

“Clearly the country is having quite a difficult time, but if you look at the benefits of these schemes, it’s an incredible thing for very little money, and that’s important when money is so tight,” the Daily Mail quoted Sue Biggs, RHS director-general as saying.

“To see colour and beautiful flowers is, in its own right, fantastic, but the most helpful thing is the community support – people get to know their
neighbours again,” she added.

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