Monday 19 March 2012
RHS recruits more members than ever before in a single year and celebrates highest membership in its history and bright future for gardeners.
The RHS is celebrating its highest number of members – 383,000 – and is announcing, as part of the biggest investment programme in its history, the creation of two centres in Scotland and Yorkshire.
RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, says; “Record numbers joined the RHS in 2011 to support our charitable work, relax in some of world’s most beautiful gardens and grow their gardening knowledge.
“We believe this is partly because in challenging times people want to get back to nature and make a difference to the environment, both aesthetically and to care about the planet. We’re investing £27 million in horticulture* to fuel this growing appetite for gardening and increasing our national presence to help millions more people garden; the first new centres will open in Scotland and Yorkshire this year.
“The membership growth is also due to better understanding of our activities and charitable purpose: we are trying hard to be more relevant to more people.”
The new centres are just one of seven major projects resulting from this investment, that also include the first RHS inner-city garden.
Notes to editors
For more information and please contact Hayley Monckton, firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7821 3045
* RHS Heritage Investment Projects
The RHS Heritage Investment Projects are made possible by the RHS raising £18 million, from its own resources, for investment; the Society is also embarking on a major fundraising campaign to raise a further £9 million. The combined investment fund of £27 million will allow the charity, over the next five years, to make some of the most significant and exciting changes in its history.
The seven projects are:
RHS Lindley Library & Hall, London
The RHS plans to redevelop the Lindley Hall and Library to create a stunning, new space for a larger, open-plan library and exhibition gallery. Through increased London Flower Shows, exhibitions, lectures, events and courses, everyone would, for the first time, be able to enjoy the Society’s collections of literary and botanical art treasures. These are of international significance and chart 500 years of UK gardening history.
The RHS plans to create a world-class scientific research centre for the benefit of all gardeners and the environment. With the Government and universities cutting back on research expenditure, there is an urgent need to make this investment and it would put the RHS at the forefront of gardening science.
RHS Urban Garden
The RHS plans to create its first inner-city garden as an oasis of green for local residents, offering educational initiatives, including school visits, workshops and inspirational gardening courses. Working with local schools and community groups the garden would offer hands-on learning experiences, such as Grow Your Own workshops. A wide variety of locations and opportunities will be explored in the search for this garden.
Across the UK, in urban and rural locations, the RHS plans to work with partners to create centres based at RHS gardens or partner colleges and gardens. The first two centres are planned to open in Scotland and Yorkshire during 2012. The Yorkshire RHS Centre will be based at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. Working in all forms of community gardening, the charity would support local groups such as Britain in Bloom, It’s Your Neighbourhood, local gardening clubs, and schools involved in the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, to recruit more supporters and create links with local businesses to ensure sustainable funding.
The RHS plans to invest in its online presence to provide a more engaging, interactive website with a wealth of ideas and expertise, which would be the first port of call for all levels of gardeners. The site would include enhanced video content and new online tools and apps aimed at helping gardeners and providing a voice for them.
RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey
To give the one million adults and children who visit RHS Garden Wisley annually an inspirational and interactive learning experience, the RHS plans include creating two additional teaching rooms, and a new exhibition space and event facility. More space would be created to enable specialist nurseries to promote British-grown, rare and unusual plants with additional room to enjoy the most extensive range of horticultural books on sale for gardeners in the UK. A new restaurant will be added and Wisley’s entrance transformed to uplift the sense of arrival that befits a garden of such international importance.
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex
We plan to increase dramatically the spectacular horticultural content at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, including creating the UK’s largest cultivated perennial meadow and a beautiful Mediterranean edible garden, featuring olives, lavender and grapevines. A new Learning Centre would also be created for children and adults to develop their gardening skills, meaning all four RHS Gardens would now have significant education facilities.
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s foremost gardening charity, helping and inspiring millions of people to garden. We do this at our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters.
RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk <http://www.rhs.org.uk/>
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262