THE chairman of Usk in Bloom has spoken of his delight after the group were awarded £3,000 by the local authority for their upcoming awards campaign.

Tony Kear said that Monmouthshire County Council’s approval of the grant will give the charity a “big boost” in their bid to become “Champion of Champions” at this year’s Britain in Bloom horticultural competition.

“We’re absolutely delighted that our funding request has been approved by the council,” he said.

“Our volunteers will be excited by the backing that the council given us. It shows an understanding of the impact that our work has both for Usk and Monmouthshire.”

Last year Usk in Bloom won a gold medal in the ‘large village’ category, meaning they will now compete in the prestigious “Champion of Champions’ category for the first time in three years.

The grant will be used to carry out several improvements in the town before judges visit in August.

Some will also go towards subsidising local businesses to encourage them to have floral hanging baskets outside their shops.

Mr Kear added: “Over many years Usk businesses have been very in generous in their support of us. We hope that they will recognise that this is, in some way, giving a little bit back to them.”

Since forming in 1981, the group have won the ‘large village’ category for Wales in Bloom, the regional competition, 36 years in a row.