USK’ S campaign to become a ‘Champion of Champions’ in this year’s Britain in Bloom awards could be handed a £3,000 funding boost.

A one-off payment has been requested of Monmouthshire County Council by charity Usk in Bloom, with a decision expected next week.

Since its formation in 1981, the group have become a dominant force in the regional version of the horticultural awards, winning Wales in Bloom’s ‘large village’ category 36 years in a row.

Last year they scooped gold in the same category in Britain in Bloom, having won four times previously.

In 2015 they found themselves competing in the ‘Champion of Champions’, a category reserved for communities who have consistently reached the gold standard.

Despite missing out by a single point, the so-called “Town of Flowers” became the first Welsh community to be put forward for the prize. And this year they are the only village in Wales to be invited back for another shot.

Their success has also drawn interest from national television, with a 30-minute programme exploring Usk in Bloom’s work set to air on BBC2 this Spring.

To help in their endeavours, the charity have now called on their local authority to support new developments in the town.

The charity say the money would be used to change the “outdated” ‘Town of Flowers’ sign on the entrance to Usk, as well new and expanded flower bed outside Usk CV Primary School.

Funds would also be used to subsidise local businesses in encouraging them to display hanging baskets - a “fundamental” part of judging criteria.

A council officer said: “Having lost by one point, a half-hearted high street would mean little chance of success.

“Monmouthshire County Council does not normally support local events of this nature but this is a one off contribution which will enable the Usk in Bloom committee to maximise their opportunity to win the ‘Champion of Champions’ 2018 competition, reflecting the hard work and commitment demonstrated by the charity and the local community over a significant number of years.”

If approved by cabinet member Cllr Phil Murphy on Wednesday February 14, the money would be taken from the council’s operations budget.