Prior to 2016, Pontefract in Bloom had been run single-handed by Brian Chappell who had received some funding for hanging baskets from Wakefield Council. By 2015 Brian was in failing health and asked for help so a committee was formed in October 2015. The committee realised that the amount of grant funding available would be insufficient to provide significant impact in the Town Centre and it was decided to invite sponsorship from businesses and individuals. In the first summer season, 2016, a single planter was purchased and installed on Bridge Street next to the Magna Carta Memorial. We also arranged for hanging baskets for those Town Centre businesses with brackets and installed 20 hanging basket brackets on participating businesses. With grants from Wakefield Council and WDH, Pontefract in Bloom has acquired 16 tiered planters, 11 square planters and two large Jubilee planters outside the Museum. We also provide 50 hanging baskets for town centre businesses and support flower beds in Pontefract Park, the Valley Gardens and by St Giles' Church.

      Pontefract Park            StGiles

      Pontefract Park Flower Bed                                                                              St Giles' Church Flower Bed

The pandemic in 2020 presented difficulties for delivering Pontefract in Bloom and we had to change our working practices - see the December 2020 newsletter. Most of the planters are retrieved by our nursery provider, First Impressions Nurseries, cleaned and planted for summer under cover. When they were reinstalled in June the planting is well established and already looking impressive. The additional advantage is that the plants are much less vulnerable to vandalism. When the planting is done on site, the new plants are easily pulled out and this has been a continual problem, especially the planters in the Market Place. This experience has led us to re-evaluate and we decided arrange for most of the planters to be taken in for winter storage in October, rather than proceed with autumn planting. We have found that in previous years the winter planting is especially vulnerable to vandalism, particularly in the Market Place, and the cost of planting and watering is not justified through the winter. Those planters that cannot be moved easily are left in place and planted on site by volunteers. The flower beds in the Valley Gardens, Pontefract Park and St Giles' Church are be planted and maintained by the respective groups.