Derbyshire conference centre ‘going for gold’ in RHS Britain in Bloom awards

A leading Derbyshire conference centre is sowing the seeds for a tilt at a top award in this year’s East Midlands in Bloom competition.

The hard work of head gardener Louis Adlington resulted in The Hayes, part of the Christian Conference Trust, landing a Silver Gilt Award for its “exceptional” grounds in the last round of the annual awards.

The Swanwick centre received the accolade in the Best Retail and Commercial Premises category, with judges impressed by the attractiveness of planting, sustainability, and quality care and maintenance.

Louis, who ditched his job in property management three years ago to realise his dream of working outside, is preparing to go one better this year by earning a coveted gold award while continuing to provide a first-class service for CCT customers.

Louis – CCT gardener.

Recycling fallen leaves, grass clippings and shredded paper for use as mulch in the ground’s very heavy clay soil and putting measures in place to become more self-sufficient are just two of the improvements he has already made.

John Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of CCT said:

“Having been previous winners of the Silver East Midlands in Bloom award we were delighted to improve on this last year with a Silver Gilt award. Louis continuously works hard to maintain the grounds and is committed to doing all he can to secure the top award in this year’s competition”.

“All of us at CCT are immensely proud to be on the receiving end of these well-recognised accolades for the quality of work which goes into ensuring all of our venues provide quality facilities both inside and out”.

 “Receiving the silver gilt was an excellent achievement but we won’t rest on our laurels, there’s still room to achieve the highest standard of gold this summer. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Deciding on the Silver Gilt award last year, judge, Chris Beal, said:

“The grounds maintenance here is exceptional. Beds are all well-tended with no weeds in sight. Formal lawn areas are well mown and edged.

“The formal bedding was full of flower and doing exceptionally well. This site is a credit to the staff and management and certainly makes an impression upon its visitors.”

The judges, appointed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), hand out accolades in a similar way to the Chelsea Flower Show, with bronze, silver, silver gilt and gold awards up for grabs. Aspects such as colour schemes, the use of low-peat composts and the health of plants are taken into consideration.

CCT has conference centres in Derbyshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk. Their venues host a full range of events, including conferences for up to 400 delegates, small business meetings, church weekends away, corporate away days or evening functions.

To find out more about CCT please visit: The Christian Conference Trust ( or call 0300 111 4444.

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