Gardening Charities Join Forces to Fund Community Projects

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Gardeners invited to apply for Elspeth Thompson Bursary

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) are inviting amateur gardeners across England and Wales to apply for funds to support their community horticultural projects.
The fund of more than £100,000 was created in memory of inspirational garden writer and blogger Elspeth Thompson, who died in 2010.
Now in its second year, the Elspeth Thompson Bursary has already funded more than a dozen community projects across the country, including:
• helping vulnerable and socially excluded adults regenerate a communal garden in Cardiff;
• funding the redevelopment of a communal garden in Northumberland;
• providing gardening equipment to a charity in Caerphilly that works with vulnerable and homeless young people;
• setting up a community allotment with special facilities to serve disabled children, the elderly and the wider community.

There is no fixed limit to the size of bursary, and more than one bursary may be awarded in a particular year. For 2013 a record total in excess of £14,000 was awarded across six projects.
Penny Snell, Chairman of the NGS, said: “Although the NGS is a fundraising, grant-giving charity supported by owners of private gardens opening them to the public, one of the positive results of opening gardens is the fostering of a community spirit.

“The Elspeth Thompson Bursaries aim to support community projects and include diverse sections of society through horticulture and a community effort. Community gardening was very close to Elspeth's heart and we are delighted to be able to provide these bursaries in her name in partnership with the RHS.”

Jim Gardiner, Director of Horticulture at the RHS, said: “We know that gardening has the power to bring communities together – the huge success of RHS Britain in Bloom and its sister project RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood proves that.”

“That’s why I urge all amateur gardeners to apply for an Elspeth Thompson Bursary to help inspire more people to develop a passion for horticulture and share their love of gardening, and the far-reaching benefits it provides to the entire community.”


Notes to editors

To apply for the Elspeth Thompson Bursary please contact Lizanne Gomez, RHS Bursaries Manager at or call on 01483 479719.
Applications, which are administered by the RHS, must be submitted by 31 December 2013.
For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 or email

About RHS Britain in Bloom
RHS Britain in Bloom is the UK’s largest community gardening campaign, involving more than 300,000 people. As part of RHS Britain in Bloom – and its sister campaign, RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood – volunteers in cities, towns, villages, urban communities and neighbourhoods work together to improve their local environment, using gardening as a tool.
To find out more, visit:  

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, the first of our gardens, 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.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 209 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

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

About the National Gardens Scheme
The National Gardens Scheme’s Elspeth Thompson Bursary Fund was created in 2011 in memory of Elspeth who was passionate about the role that community gardens could play in people’s lives.
Founded in 1927, The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) has donated more than £22 million to charity in the last ten years.
Charities supported by the NGS include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices and The Carers Trust.
Registered Charity No. 1112664

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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