Sudbury and Halstead’s Anglia in Bloom successes will repay the effort and money they cost with wider benefits, according to officials.
Last week, Sudbury was given a gold award for its floral displays, with Belle Vue Park named as best public open space, while Halstead scooped the top prize of best overall entry, along with the gold award and best town.
Sudbury’s efforts cost £3,000 in sponsorship money on top of the town council’s £15,000 annual bill for flowers.
Sue Brotherwood, town clerk, said: “A great deal of help is in kind and we have so many people who give their time and expertise for free.”
Mrs Brotherwood said the town would reap the rewards from success in the competition through projects to improve Sudbury.
“This could be litter picks, poster campaigns or just people looking after the piece of ground near their house,” she said. “Other benefits are everyone seeing how nice the town looks.”
Mike Murkin, Halstead town clerk, said the town’s In Bloom committee had spent £10,000 of funds raised itself on the competition, and estimated that 4,360 hours of volunteers’ time was spent on the project across the year – the equivalent of two-and-a-half full-time staff.
“We get many visitors coming into our offices seeking information about the town and in particular the floral displays,” said Mr Murkin.
“If people are visiting it must have a knock-on effect to local businesses, in particular the restaurants, pubs and individual shops on our high street.”