A Swansea Valley town is going all out for the top prize in this year's Britain in Bloom competition.

After competing for only three years, Blodau Ystradgynlais won the Wales In Bloom - Best Town award last year and their efforts have been recognised as being of such a high standard that they have now been invited to enter the prestigious 2019 Britain in Bloom contest, one of only three Welsh towns to receive the invitation.

Britain in Bloom is a year-round competition that allows groups to compete on a regional or national level by using gardening to transform their communities

Blodau Ystradgynlais is a community-run group that has been striving to improve the streets and green spaces of the valley town for the last four years.

Having started as a small group of just seven like-minded volunteers, the group now has 19 members and is growing all the time.

This year they are planing the planting of a community orchard using Welsh heritage varieties of apple; coordinated clearance of overgrown areas throughout the town, complete with the planting of many different varieties of plants to make neglected spaces something to be cherished; the creation of edible herb bed outside the community library for residents to take advantage of the produce as they come and go; yarn bombing for the bollards in the town centre as they were adorned with over 50 woolly hats and scarves over the Christmas period and engage with local schools, traders and community members to educate, support and promote gardening and green spaces.

By actively caring for the community spaces, the town of Ystradgynlais is feeling both cherished and cleaner. Blodau Ystradgynlais also organise litter picks and clear up dog mess.

The benefits are also felt by the group members who have a strong social bond with each other and love coming up with new ideas to benefit the town.

When asked about why she loves being part of Blodau Ystradgynlais, Chairperson Cynthia Davis said: “It brightens up the town and when walking around seeing all the colour makes me smile. "And it gives me so much pleasure to see people admiring and smiling when looking at the colourful blooms”

Local trader, Tristan Davies of Pethau Plant, sums up how the community feel about the work of Blodau Ystradgynlais: “The flowers in the town have made a massive difference to how the town looks and feels.

"The work the Blodau volunteers have done has been amazing, giving up their time and effort to make Ystradgynlais a better place to live and shop.”

To find out more about Blodau Ystradgynlais, contact Cynthia Davis on 01639 849581.