In April we registered Fairfield for the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood scheme, a noncompetitive scheme for community groups and individuals who want to ‘green up’ their neighbourhood; improving our environment, making new friends and getting active in our local area. The RHS offers support and advice through their regional teams – we were assigned to the Anglia in Bloom region. It’s Your Neighbourhood is a good introductory step for Fairfield and then, if appropriate, entry into the Anglia In Bloom competition can follow as a second step.

Our assigned assessor, John Crawley, visited Fairfield for our first annual assessment on 18 August. He was met by Nick Andrews, Chair of Fairfield Parish Council and myself (Sara Chick, volunteer It’s Your Neighbourhood co-ordinator), together with Lee Abbott representing FPRA and the tree planting initiatives, Gavin and Penny Daffarn representing Fairfield Orchards, and Richard Poole representing Fairfield Community Garden.

Following an introductory presentation, we took John on a walk around Fairfield, highlighting community projects and giving an insight into the area and the fabulous natural resources we have in our community. There were some unscheduled stops, including the Bowls Club where John was impressed to see the healthy vegetable plot.

John will assess Fairfield against the It’s Your Neighbourhood scorecard’s three key areas: Community Participation, Environmental Responsibility and Gardening Achievement. We will be given a certificate which shows our current level of progress and makes recommendations for moving to the next level. John was incredibly interested in what Fairfield has to offer. He praised our efforts to date and has offered continued support and mentoring as we develop our plans and projects. We expect to receive the formal assessment from John in the next few weeks and will report on the result in a future issue of Fairfield Matters.

We welcome new volunteers and projects to add to our It’s Your Neighbourhood portfolio. Volunteering can be anything from lending a hand once a year for apple picking or apple tree pruning, to seasonal bulb planting or helping to maintain an area of the Community Garden. You don’t even have to be an enthusiastic gardener to volunteer: we also need local woodworkers and other trades to help with the projects – for example, maintenance of the garden stores and hard landscaping in the Community Garden. Volunteers are welcome to apply individually or as a group – why not get together with your neighbours and put forward a street project? Join us and help Fairfield to Bloom!

Sara Chick

If you would like to volunteer, propose a new project or highlight an existing project that we can add to our It’s your Neighbourhood portfolio please contact Sara Chick by email at