The National Garden Scheme celebrates 25 years of partnership and £21 million of funding for three UK charities

Gathered at Stonor Park for 25th anniversary

PRESS RELEASE – 19 August 2021

The garden at Stonor Park near Henley-on-Thames played host to a very special celebration on Wednesday, 18th August when it opened its gates for a garden visit and afternoon tea for unpaid carers and frontline hospice and hospital workers. The event celebrated 25 years of support and over £21 million in funding from the National Garden Scheme for three of its key beneficiaries: Marie Curie, Hospice UK and Carers Trust. 

The event brought together the key ingredients that mark the National Garden Scheme’s success: great gardens, great cakes and great causes. 

“It was an absolute delight to welcome such a wonderful group of people to Stonor Park to celebrate this key milestone for the National Garden Scheme,” said National Garden Scheme Chief Executive, George Plumptre. 

Unpaid carers, palliative care doctors and physiotherapists shared the afternoon with charity volunteers and chief executives, enjoying the beautiful gardens at Stonor Park along with afternoon tea in vintage china and a prosecco toast. 

National Garden Scheme Chief Executive, George Plumptre said: “Twenty-five years ago in 1996 our donations went to support district nurses and Macmillan nurses. The addition of these three charities extended donations to palliative care nurses, hospice care and carers, thereby making a significant expansion to our charitable impact. 

“Since then, the combined total of more than £21 million that we have given to these three great organisations has made us the most significant cumulative funder of each. The total, and our ability to provide long-term funding commitments to these nursing and health charities, is something that we are immensely proud of and keen to celebrate.” 

A number of local carers attended the afternoon which was a wonderful break from their usual caring duties. One said: “Spending time in a lovely garden, away from our usual duties, even only for a couple of hours is like a holiday, a lovely holiday.”  

Commenting on the event Nurse Consultant Katherine Gilbert of Hospice UK added: “Myself and my colleagues from Thames Hospice had a wonderful afternoon exploring the beautiful gardens at Stonor Park. It was a pleasure to celebrate everything the National Garden Scheme have done to support hospice care over the past 25 years – thank you!” 

What the funding means: 

Marie Curie has received £9.8 million in funding since 1996 making the National Garden Scheme one of their highest-value partners. 

“The long-term support of the National Garden Scheme has been fundamental to our operations over the last 25 years, and we’re proud to have a partner like them by our side throughout the changing landscape for over two decades,” says Marie Curie CEO, Matthew Reed. “The partnership has enabled us to continue the essential provision of our national end of life community nursing service including funding crucial career progression costs for nurses, to support our nine hospices, our Information and Support service and Helpline. Not only that, but previously opening up our own gardens for the Scheme has been a welcome way to invite the public into our hospices, which we’ve loved participating in.” 

“The National Garden Scheme is, and continues to be one of our longest standing, and most valued partners, and we’re delighted to be continuing to work with them as we look to transform end of life care across the UK, together.” 

In addition to the funding received, like Marie Curie, Hospice UK encourages its own hospice gardens to open for the National Garden Scheme providing an open door to local communities and helping to raise awareness and funds for their important work.  

“Inviting the public to visit our hospice gardens is a wonderful way to share our work with a wider audience and to share the benefits of these beautiful spaces with others,” says Hospice UK CEO, Tracey Bleakley. “It’s a perfect partnership. The £6.4 million we’ve received from the National Garden Scheme and the long-term commitment has underpinned the support we’ve been able to provide to the whole hospice sector. Funding from the National Garden Scheme has also supported a bursary programme for hospices, and our annual awards ceremony which celebrates the achievements of our hospice staff and volunteers.  In addition, National Garden Scheme gardens provide a wonderful space for our beneficiaries, staff and supporters to relax, learn and unwind.” 

Access to National Garden Scheme gardens has also been important to Carers Trust which supports around 438,000 unpaid carers every year in the UK.   “The National Garden Scheme was an early supporter of unpaid carers and its continuous funding for 25 years has made a dramatic impact on what we have been able to do during that time,” says Svetlana Kirov, Director of Fundraising at Carers Trust. “We’re hugely grateful for this long-term commitment from the National Garden Scheme.  The £5 million has transformed the lives of unpaid carers across the UK, not least because it has meant we have been able to provide them with respite from, and more support with, their caring role.  In recent years the programme of free group carer visits to National Garden Scheme gardens has also been a real gift for carers, giving them the precious opportunity to enjoy the company and laughter of their fellow carers in the most beautiful surroundings imaginable.” 

“We fully understand the powerful health and wellbeing benefits of a garden visit and are keen to share that with as wide an audience as possible. And the opportunity for people to visit hospice gardens and see for themselves the huge benefits they bring is an extension of this,” says George Plumptre. “Our aim is to not only to provide funding for these important charities but to build a relationship with all our beneficiaries, where our gardens provide so much more to all involved.”   


All three charities became beneficiaries of the National Garden Scheme in 1996. In that time the following donations have been received:  

Marie Curie – £9.8 million
Hospice UK – £6.4 million
Carers Trust – £5 million 

You can read more about the impact of National Garden Scheme donations to our beneficiaries in our 2019 and 2020 Impact Reports here 

For more information contact Vicky Flynn, Communications Manager, National Garden Scheme


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