THANKS to donations from the public more than £1,000 has been raised for community group Shaftesbury in Bloom, on top of a £500 cash boost from the town council.

As previously reported, the group of volunteers had reached out to residents through an online fundraiser to help cover donations halted by Covid-19.

A target of £1,000 was set by Shaftesbury in Bloom to help cover the costs of plants, equipment and installation.

Now the fundraised amount sits at £1,010, which means members can continue decorating the High Street with boxes, troughs, planters and barrels of flowers.

Shaftesbury Town Council has also granted around £500 to the group following a separate and unintentional fundraising effort.

Heard at the full council meeting last week, around £410 in donations had been received by the authority in exchange for face coverings distributed in the High Street.

Town clerk Claire Commons said: “People have not wanted to take [coverings] for free and they have been imposing their donations upon us so we have set up the box to collect those in, there’s absolutely no compulsion to make a donation but regardless we have collected around £500 so far.”

This total has been split between Open House and Shaftesbury in Bloom, and then match funded by the council.

Following the proposal from Councillor Alex Chase, who added that some plants on the High Street had suffered damage, it was approved that “Shaftesbury Town Council nominates Open House and Shaftesbury in Bloom to be the beneficiaries of the public donations and will match funds up to £500 of those donations”.

Shaftesbury in Bloom president Derek Beer said the money will help create “a more pleasant experience” for visitors to the town.

He added: “It is brilliant the way that local people of all ages and walks of life have generously donated hard-earned money to help the In Bloom effort.

“As I have gone about my daily business people have called me over to thrust money into my hand towards the project, which is very heartening for those giving their time to carry out the watering several days a week, and also for the good people at Thorngrove who planted such excellent quality displays.”

James Thrift of Shaftesbury in Bloom, who launched the crowdfunding page, added: “It’s a huge boost to the team of volunteers who give up so much of their time to keep the displays looking as good as they do.

"When you consider that just a few short months ago we weren’t sure if there were going to be any flowers at all in the town this year, the support we have received has spurred us on to make sure that there is an even better display through the town next year.”