RHS in the Community
The RHS is committed to helping people garden and does so through RHS Britain in Bloom, It’s Your Neighbourhood and the Campaign for School Gardening. We estimate we help over 5 million people garden through these campaigns and via the free advice on our website.
Britain in Bloom is the nation’s biggest environmental campaign involving up to 300,000 volunteers (the London Olympics had 70,000 for comparison), but touching the lives of us all. For a full list of the RHS Britain in Bloom 2015 finalists please click here.
Started in 1964 by the then British Tourist Authority as a way of marketing the country through floral displays, today RHS Britain in Bloom is a campaign that brings communities together to keep our neighbourhoods and streets green, clean and thriving.
RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers invest around 10 million hours a year greening up and cleaning up the UK’s villages, towns and cities – this time would cost more than £70 million if volunteers were paid for it.
Without RHS Britain in Bloom and its army of volunteers our streets would be more littered, crime would be likely to increase, parks would be less cared-for and there would be up to 5 million fewer plants, shrubs and bulbs planted each year, which would have a detrimental effect on enriching our health, on the environment and on our wildlife.
Part of RHS Britain in Bloom, the It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign supports local community groups in cleaning up and greening up their immediate local environment. There are over 1,600 It’s Your Neighbourhood groups.
A 2011 RHS impact report, based on a survey of over 230 gardening groups, demonstrated how the campaign is making a major difference to both the socio-economic and physical landscape of the country. Key findings include that it helps cut crime and encourages social cohesion.
Images by Henry/Bragg
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening inspires and supports schools to provide children with gardening opportunities to enhance their skills and boost their development, with the direct benefits of gardening for children proven to include improved physical and mental well-being, increased confidence, teamwork and communication, and an enriched understanding about the environment and sustainability.
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening is the UK’s largest school gardening campaign, with nearly 30,000 schools and groups participating – representing 67% of all UK primary schools and 77% of secondary schools. We estimate this engages around 5 million children.
Launching in 2015, Rocket Science, an innovative education project run by the Campaign for School Gardening in partnership with the UK Space Agency, will give around half a million children the chance to learn how investment in human space exploration contributes to our knowledge of life on Earth, using the invaluable expertise of the European Space Agency (ESA) and RHS Science team.
2kg of an as-yet-un-named cultivar of rocket seeds have been sent to the International Space Station. After several months on board, orbiting the planet at 17,000mph, the seeds will be returned to Earth and sent to thousands of UK schools, alongside a batch of seeds of the same cultivar that have stayed on Earth. Over the following months pupils will grow and compare the seeds as they embark on a voyage of discovery to see whether we can sustain human life in space through the production of our own food. The results of the nationwide citizen science experiment will then be analysed to discover whether space travel has impacted on the growth of the seeds.
This scheme currently supports more than 3,000 gardening clubs and horticultural societies throughout the UK and overseas, making it the largest network of gardening clubs in the UK.
RHS Affiliated Societies receive a range of support, including an annual visit to one of the show-stopping RHS gardens, free access to RHS horticultural advisors and a dedicated quarterly community gardening magazine, Grass Roots.
RHS research has shown that one of the best ways to make new friends, share a common interest and expand your horizons is by joining your local gardening group. A poll of 550 gardening clubs affiliated to the RHS found that 68% of members joined to make new friends, 73% to share gardening information and 70% to widen their knowledge.