The RHS Inspires the North West’s Next Generation of Budding Horticulturists

Thursday 24 November 2016

Jamie Butterworth, RHS Ambassador, announces the regional winners of RHS schools’ garden design competition

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Ambassador, Jamie Butterworth, has met with secondary school pupils from across the North West to help select the regional winners of a UK-wide RHS schools’ garden design competition called Green Plan It.

Jamie, whose role with the RHS is to inspire young people to consider careers in the horticultural sector, was one of a panel of judges that gave feedback on the pupils’ innovative designs for a school or community garden, at an event held at The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester on 22 November.

He was joined by local horticultural industry experts, many of whom have been involved in mentoring the teams of 12 to 14 year olds who took part in the ten-week design challenge.

The teams competed to win prizes for their projects and were rewarded for innovation and teamwork.

Winning the Best Overall Project was St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Centre for Learning from Whiston in Merseyside, who came up with a design for a memorial garden dedicated to an inspirational head teacher who loved gardening and would have been very proud of the design which was a space where students could relax, socialise and read. The team won £100 worth of HTA gardening gift vouchers and have already applied for funding and have scheduled a garden opening ceremony for March 2017.

Other regional winners included:

• Burnage Academy for Boys, Team ‘Bee boys’
• The Derby High School, Science and Arts College, Team ‘Derby Goes Green’
• Tytherington School, Team ‘Badgers inc.’

Josh Wood Spiers a pupil in the winning Green Plan It team said: “I have enjoyed being part of the Green Plan It challenge especially designing, talking over ideas and making the model to scale using 1:20 scale.

“I have learnt how to plant seeds, flowering times, soil types, whether a plant is evergreen and I have taken loads of photographs. I found it interesting learning about plants that are drought resistant and how they retain water.

“I can’t choose my favourite part of gardening - I love everything. It’s totally relaxing and I love working as a team with my friends that I have made through gardening.”

Jamie Butterworth said: “It was fantastic to meet with the pupils and see the amazing designs they’ve come up with. I hope the experience has given them a real insight into what it’s like to work in the horticultural sector and inspires those who may not have previously considered a career in horticulture to think-twice about their options.”

RHS Head of Community Outreach, Andrea Van-Sittart said: “The pupils have worked with expert industry mentors to develop some incredible designs. I’m sure they’ve got a lot out of the project and found meeting Jamie and the other horticultural role models hugely inspirational.

“That leading industry figures and mentors have given up their time to invest in the next generation speaks volumes about their commitment to ensuring that young people learn more about the diverse and rewarding horticultural sector.”

The RHS project supported young people to develop a range of new skills, including teamwork, design and planning, as well as introducing them to the wide range of career options that exist within horticulture.

For press queries please contact Claire Weaver, Press Officer, Communities and Education at or on 0207 821 3043.


Notes to editors

The schools taking part in the North West RHS ‘Green Plan It’ challenge were:

Burnage Academy for Boys, Manchester
New Mills School and Sixth Form, Derbyshire
St Ambrose Barlow RC High School, Manchester
St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Centre for Learning, Merseyside
The Derby High School, Science and Arts College, Derby
Tytherington School, Macclesfield, Cheshire
Whitworth Community High School, Rochdale, Lancashire

The industry mentors supporting the schools in the North West region were:
Andy Ingham Ingham Services Limited
Brenda Smith Bud Garden Centre
Don Billington Every Picture Tells a Story Nursery Owner
Hugh Bunting Manchester Airports Group
Jill Tyson Salford City Council
Matthew Suett Oldham Council
Peter Metcalf RSK
Rebecca Knowles Groundwork MSSTT
Ryan Simpson Wyevale Garden Centre
Tony Jones Notcutts garden centre

About the RHS Green Plan It Challenge
The RHS Green Plan It Challenge involves up to 900 secondary-school pupils across the UK. It launched this autumn in eight locations - Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Harrogate, London, Newcastle, Norwich and Salford.

Supported by industry mentors, students have worked in small teams on a ten-week project to design a new green space, using a range of materials and media to bring their ideas to life. Through the process they learnt about the importance of plants to people and places in real world contexts.

The RHS Green Plan It Challenge was designed to be student led, allowing young people to explore community needs and environmental issues, which means that it has broad curriculum relevance in subjects such as Science, D&T, PSHE and Citizenship. The programme aims to inspire young people to think about horticulture in different ways, to build their skills and to gain insight into a wide range of exciting careers – from plant science and design to gardening and journalism – in an industry that currently faces a skills shortage.

Visit for further details.

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



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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