Communities don their gardening gloves to green grey Britain

Friday 25 May 2018

An urban food hub, a sanctuary garden for dementia sufferers, and a revamped railway station are among over 40 community projects across the UK that the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), supported by M&G Investments, sponsors of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, will be helping this year.

Now in its third year, the RHS’s Greening Grey Britain project will see 44 local gardening groups working with children and young people to transform currently unused or unloved sites into vibrant community areas teeming with life and colour.

Together, the RHS and M&G want to stem the tide of front gardens and community areas being paved over, and to encourage people to embrace green space - to improve health and wellbeing, grow food, support wildlife and tackle problems linked to pollution and climate change.

Two highlights from this year’s crop of community projects are:

  • The rejuvenation of a garden in a sheltered housing community in Stratford, East London, where teenage Metropolitan Police cadets will be helping residents to grow fresh fruit and vegetables
  • The creation of a beautiful and restful ‘sanctuary garden’ for dementia sufferers in Dunbar, East Lothian, where secondary school pupils at risk of permanent exclusion will be developing their horticultural skills alongside a community gardening group.

All the schemes will benefit from the help and advice of an RHS gardening expert, as well as £500 worth of plants and materials.

Other projects will include the creation of a vibrant corridor of colour by a busy main road in Manchester, a revamped West Yorkshire railway station to lift the spirits of commuters, and a community garden in Sunderland that nods to the city’s industrial heritage.

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach said: “Our towns and cities are rapidly becoming concrete jungles, covered in paving and with little space left for plants. We’re helping communities fight back and show that even small pockets of green space can make a big difference to people’s lives and the environment.”

Anne Richards, Chief Executive of M&G said: “Gardening is a wonderful, rewarding pastime for everyone, young and old – which is why we need to make sure that every community has green space for people to be able to enjoy together. We’re very excited about what the groups are going to be doing this summer and are looking forward to seeing the results!”

Projects are now underway with transformations due for completion by early autumn.

Find out more about Greening Grey Britain at:


Notes to editors

For further information please contact Claire Weaver on 07590 930 047 or

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening.

For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

About M&G Investments and M&G Prudential
M&G Investments is the asset management business of M&G Prudential, a subsidiary of Prudential PLC. An active manager, M&G offers investment strategies across equities, fixed income, multi-asset, cash, real estate, private debt and infrastructure. M&G is an acknowledged leader and innovator in social housing finance, with over 20 years' and over £6bn worth of lending experience.

M&G Prudential, a leader in savings and investments, serves 7 million customers in 18 different countries and had total assets under management of £351 billion as of 31 December 2017.

About M&G Real Estate
M&G Real Estate is the real estate fund management arm of M&G. The second largest real estate investor in the UK, M&G Real Estate is also a leading global real estate investor with over £30 billion (including cash) invested in a broad spread of properties across Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region (as of 31 December 2017). M&G is the investment arm of Prudential Plc in the UK, Europe and Asia.

For more information please visit

Latest press releases

About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

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

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262