A NEW floral festival bringing together the whole community of Christchurch has started to take shape.

Organised by florist Glenda Stansbury, Flower Fest will come to the town over five days in June, 2018.

The event will see Christchurch blossom in full colour with displays and installations in the town.

The festival will use the Priory as a focal point, alongside a trail through the high street and plans for Saxon Square.

Coinciding with the popular Music and Art Festival inside the Priory, all proceeds raised from the inaugural Flower Fest will go to charity Dorset Mind.

"The main aim of the event is to promote the benefit of working with flowers, nature and gardening to everyone's mental health," Ms Stansbury said.

"I've got close links to how the mental health system works and the appalling of resource for young people's mental health.

"If the festival and proceeds can help just one young person it is worth doing.

"There is going to be a designated charity area in Saxon Square so other local charities from health and wellbeing areas get a chance to promote themselves as well.

"Businesses can take part by doing an installation of their own or working with a florist to produce something at one of the Priory sites.

"It's a great team building exercise for companies to come on board and get creative see skills they don't normally see.

"Having the support of the Priory is fundamental to the festival taking place and hopefully being a success."

Flower Fest takes place from June 13 to June 17, with opportunities available for sponsors and volunteers from Christchurch to get involved.

Ms Stansbury is keen to engage all areas of the town in the festival and has had positive responses from a number of businesses, as well as English Heritage who are allowing use of the grounds around the castle and Norman House.

Retailers in the town centre will be able to enter a window display competition with the public judging the contest and there are plans for a Tower of London inspired community project at the town hall.

The event was inspired by a flower festival in Barcelona which has been running since 1955.

"It all started after my visit to Girona Flower Festival," Ms Stansbury added.

"I wrote to the organisers saying I was inspired by your event in Spain after seeing it for myself and want to try to emulate it in Christchurch.

"I did some market research around a year ago in the town centre. Overall the vast majority were really supportive which is encouraging.

"It would be great to have all the shop windows with their own floral arrangement."

For more details about Flower Fest contact Glenda Stansbury on 07799 641999 or glenda.stansbury@hotmail.com.