National Garden Scheme announces more than £260,000 in funding for 86 community garden projects
PRESS RELEASE – Tuesday 4 April
“For small organisations, like our own, these grants really put a smile on people’s faces and a spring in their step.”
Steve Page, Hon Treasurer Ashton Keynes Millennium Green Trust
The Trust received a £528 grant from the National Garden Scheme which in turn unlocked matched Parish Council funding.
To mark Community Gardens Week (April 3-9) the National Garden Scheme is delighted to announce the distribution of £262,140 of funding to 86 community garden projects across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the funding, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme, George Plumptre said: “The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the growing popularity and importance of community gardens, and our support has responded to this. Now, at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is forcing many people to find innovative ways to support themselves, their families and their communities our Community Garden Grants are providing even more of a helping hand to thousands of people across the UK.
Many of the 500 applications we received centred on the growing of food for communities, foodbanks and those helping others to learn to grow food. Applications also came from a broad spectrum of society, including a number of ethnic minorities. Community gardens reduce isolation and build friendships, so it is easy to see why people get involved and we are delighted to provide ongoing support to so many inspirational projects.”
Danny Clarke – aka The Black Gardener (pictured) – and National Garden Scheme Ambassador added: “It’s great to see this funding going to the heart of so many community projects. Projects that will help invigorate the people they support and introduce new audiences to the huge benefits that gardens, and gardening bring to their health and wellbeing and to the environment and communities around them.”
From social welfare and gardening projects that help the isolated, the disabled and the disenfranchised to support for community orchards, food banks and social prescribing projects at GP surgeries, the funding provides a much-needed boost to those working on or initiating community garden projects throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A full list can be found by clicking here
Giving that gives back
Many of the funded community projects in turn open for the National Garden Scheme completing a virtuous circle of giving and giving back. Examples include Rhubarb Farm in Nottinghamshire – a 2-acre horticultural social enterprise that provides training and volunteering opportunities to 60 ex-offenders, drug and alcohol misusers, older people, school students, people with mental and physical ill health and learning disabilities. The project opens its gates through the National Garden Scheme on dates in May, June. July and August and by arrangement for groups. For details see: https://findagarden.ngs.org.uk/garden/32316/rhubarb-farm
Set within the grounds of the Glenfield Hospital in Leicestershire, the Secret Garden is 1 acre in size, hidden behind the walls of a Victorian Walled Garden which has been lovingly designed and restored for the benefit of all those who visit it and in consideration of the rich history and heritage of the garden and the wider Leicester Frith site. The garden received a Community Garden Grant in 2022 and now opens for the National Garden Scheme on dates in June and July. For details see: https://findagarden.ngs.org.uk/garden/44274/the-secret-garden-glenfield-hospital
For the Pakistan Association Liverpool (PAL) Wellbeing Garden a £4,900 Community Gardens Grant from the National Garden Scheme is helping the community members to continue building on the pilot garden and expanding around the back of the building. Established in 1977, PAL has served as a community hub for generations who integrate as equals under one roof, regardless of race, creed, and religion. The PAL Wellbeing Garden opens for the first time this year for the National Garden Scheme as part of the Canning Georgian Quarter group gardens on 18 June. For details see: https://findagarden.ngs.org.uk/garden/43778/canning-georgian-quarter
Distribution of funds
Funding will be distributed throughout 2023 with project updates expected in early 2024. The 2024 Community Gardens Award application process will begin in the autumn with full details available on the National Garden Scheme website at: https://ngs.org.uk/who-we-are/community-gardens-award/
More about National Garden Scheme funding and Gardens and Health programme
In addition to the National Garden Scheme’s annual donations to nursing and health charities, the charity has been funding community gardening projects since 2011 when the awards were set up in memory of Elspeth Thompson, the much-loved garden writer and journalist who died in 2010. Elspeth was a great friend and supporter of the National Garden Scheme; she also wrote an admired ‘Urban Gardener’ column in the Sunday Telegraph that often celebrated community gardens. The programme honours Elspeth’s memory and supports the community gardens she loved.
Since the Community Garden Grants began, £650,000 has been donated to almost 300 community projects.
The Community Garden Grants (CGG) form part of the wider National Garden Scheme’s Gardens and Health programme which last year saw the total funding for Gardens and Health projects (excluding CGGs) to more than £1 million. It is a milestone on which the charity intends to build in the coming years, not only funding more garden projects in healthcare settings but also in the community for the benefit of individuals and diverse groups, enabling more people to have access to gardens and to discover the benefits they will find there. To discover more about the Gardens and Health programme, including recent funding for nurse-led community garden projects in partnership with our founder and beneficiary the Queens Nursing Institute (QNI) and the projects it supports visit our website at: https://ngs.org.uk/gardens-and-health-week/
LEAD IMAGE: Volunteers at work in the Secret Garden, Leicestershire