Wasteland to Become Community Allotment

Friday 27 June 2014

Funding from the National Gardens Scheme in association with the Royal Horticultural Society helps locals grow their own food

A church group in Tipton is celebrating after receiving funds from the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to create a community allotment designed to give local resident’s access to a green space where they can grow their own food.

The new allotment, which is being developed by the St Peter’s Church Group, was made possible by a bursary of more than £2,000 from the gardening charities. The project will breathe new life into a piece of neglected land and transform it into a community space to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers. The food produced on the allotment will be used to feed some of the most disadvantaged members of the community, including the homeless.

The allotment will also provide local schools, who have signed up to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, with an outdoor space from which to teach lessons and encourage students to get involved in gardening.

The St Peter’s Church Group hopes that the allotment will bring the community together, increase environmental awareness and encourage local residents to lead healthier lives.
The bursary, which is named after celebrated garden writer Elspeth Thompson, who died in 2010, will be used to buy a range of plants, trees and garden equipment to help transform the derelict space.

The completion of the project will be marked by the unveiling of a special commemorative plaque to acknowledge the work done by St Peter’s Church and celebrate the legacy of Elspeth Thompson.
Speaking about the award, Father Leonard Cox from the St Peter’s Church, Tipton said: “This grant enables us to progress the project to the ‘next level’ by involving local volunteers and getting food to disadvantaged people in our community. We can’t thank the RHS enough for helping us to help others”

Jim Gardiner, Executive Vice-President at the RHS, said: “The RHS exists to help people of every age and background enjoy the great benefits of gardens and gardening. We’ve known for many years that gardens bring people together and can act as the glue that binds communities. The RHS and the NGS, through the Elspeth Thompson award, are proud to help St Peter’s Church develop their impressive community allotment and bring people together to enjoy the fruits of their labour.”

Penny Snell, Chairman of the National Gardens Scheme, said: "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."

The power of gardening to bring people together is at the core of the work the RHS undertakes in communities across the country. 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.



Notes to editors

To request an application form for the NGS Elspeth Thompson Bursary please contact Lizanne Gomez, RHS Bursaries Manager at ngsbursary@rhs.org.uk or call on 01483 479719.

Applications for the bursary are administered by the RHS and must be submitted by 31 December 2014.
For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 or email garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk

*RHS Britain in Bloom: Transforming local communities is an Impact Report released in 2010 that looks at the power of community gardening in bringing people together: http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Community-gardening/pdf/Britain-in-Bloom-Impact-Report  

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, 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.

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. 210 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 www.rhs.org.uk/join  

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.
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 www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262