Babbacombe is simply a blooming marvellous place to be
16 September 2020
Renaissance’s Babbacombe community sits opposite the beautiful Rose Garden on the corner of Babbacombe Road and Babbacombe Downs Road. Many pass by the little garden without realising it is a public area, once part of Dr Herbert Chilcote’s residence Charlwood, which is looked after by the voluntary team of Babbacombe Bay Bloomers. We caught up with Ian Cawley, Team Leader, to find out more about the organisation and how they keep Babbacombe beautiful.
Can you tell us about the Babbacombe Bay Bloomers and how the group was established?
Originally the group started as St Marychurch and District Action Group in response to the then government calling for local action groups to be set up. I joined the group in 2015, at which point we changed the name to Babbacombe Bay Bloomers and created a Facebook page which helped encourage lot of younger people to join. We have a fantastic core team of about 10 people with others who drop in and generously give their time helping when they can.
What sort of events and activities do you run?
Our main event is an annual plant sale, usually held at Babbacombe Fair in June. It was sadly cancelled this year and we’ve also been unable to take part in the Scarecrow Festival, which has unfortunately affected the donations we receive. Competition-wise, we usually enter the annual South West in Bloom competition, winning Gold for four consecutive years. We have also won eight Neighbourhood Awards and two Gold Tourism Awards – no mean feat for a group solely made up of volunteers.
The Scarecrow Festival sounds fun. Tell us a bit more about that?
A couple of years ago, the ladies running the Fiesta Red flower shop in St Marychurch suggested a Scarecrow Trail, inviting the community to make scarecrows, and then selling maps so people could follow a route to find them all. The proceeds go towards the Bloomer’s running costs.
We had 60 scarecrows in the first year – 2018 – and last year was even better with over 100 scarecrows and people flocking from all over to come to St Marychurch. We had started making plans for this year’s festival, but sadly it had to be cancelled, we are hoping it will be back in 2021 with a bigger, better Festival.
How can people get involved and help support what you do?
We have new recruits join all the time, with some people just speaking to us when they see us out and about, especially now we have our smart new high-vis vests that Renaissance kindly donated. People can see exactly who we are and what we do, so often just give us donations there and then.
What makes Babbacombe such a special place to live?
Apart from the Babbacombe Bay Bloomers of course, Babbacombe is a lovely town, with a close-knit village atmosphere and a community who has continued to look after each other during lockdown. Not only have we got plenty of wonderful local shops in St Marychurch Precinct, we’ve also got access to the beautiful Babbacombe Downs and miles of open grassland. Plus, on a clear day, you get a great view of Portland Bill.
If you’re interested in getting involved with the Babbacombe Bay Bloomers, you can visit their website, or stop for a chat when you see them out and about.
To start your next chapter surrounded by blooms and beauty, call our Babbacombe team on 01803 424 039 or by emailing [email protected]. If you’re not quite ready to buy, our Lifestory Choices rental offering is also available at Babbacombe.