Defra Minister, Lord Gardiner kicks off National Garden Scheme for 2019
Defra Minister Lord Gardiner joined our President Mary Berry, sponsors, press, county organisers and beneficiaries to formally launch the garden visiting season for 2019 at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 27th March.
In his opening statement Lord Gardiner said: “I am a Gardiner by name and a gardener by nature,” setting the tone for a celebration of the physical and mental health benefits of time spent outdoors and the achievements of the National Garden Scheme.
Congratulating the National Garden Scheme on announcing annual donations of £3 million, Lord Gardiner emphasised how the charity is leading the way in championing the link between gardens and health – powerfully illustrated by its donations to the charity Horatio’s Garden who build beautiful, accessible gardens in NHS spinal injury centres across the UK.
With her close links to Horatio’s Garden, our President, Mary Berry spoke passionately about the positive impact the gardens are having on patients and their families and announced a continuing commitment from the National Garden Scheme to fund more Horatio’s Gardens over the next ten years.
The mental health charity Mind was also named as our new guest charity receiving a kick off donation of £100,000.
Originally set up to support district nurses, the National Garden Scheme donated £8,000 in 1927 and over 90 years later we are now the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK. This year, the charity has continued to make an annual donation of £500,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie and Hospice UK, as well as £250,000 to its founder, the Queen’s Nursing Institute.
Carers Trust, Parkinson’s UK and Perennial also received funding for their vital work in health and social care, and there were two new donations to Treloar’s and KIDS to support the health and wellbeing of disabled children through the creation and development of gardens.
The National Garden Scheme also spent £190,000 granting bursaries to support gardeners at the start of their career and in partnership with the RHS, spent £16,200 to fund community gardening projects in memory of the garden writer Elspeth Thompson, who died in 2010.
Commenting on the event, George Plumptre, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme said:
“Having the Under Secretary of State join us when there are many pressing matters to attend to, was an honour. The way in which he emphasised the powerful link between gardens and the wider landscape and the huge benefits that both can offer to everyone’s health and wellbeing, articulated one of our key messages, for which we are very grateful.
“But none of the National Garden Scheme’s extraordinary achievements would be possible without the invaluable support and passion of the garden owners and volunteers who help us open over 3,500 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales.”
With a host of new gardens joining the scheme in 2019, along with the continuing popularity of our Pop-Up gardens and ticketed events, this year promises to be as inspirational as ever.
To get a flavour of the launch take a look at this video with comments from our President, Mary Berry, our trustees and beneficiaries.