Despite the current coronavirus crisis that has forced all its gardens to close, National Garden Scheme Trustees are committing in excess of £1 million to its beneficiary charities and tripled its support for community garden projects throughout England and Wales this year.
NGS chief executive George Plumptre said: “The current climate of uncertainty and the loss for the foreseeable future of garden openings which provide 90per-cent of our income, compounded by a poor start to the season with storms affecting many of the stunning snowdrop gardens, means that the scheme has been unable to distribute as much as it would have liked to our beneficiary charities. However, we are still donating in excess of £1 million to the majority of our nursing and health beneficiaries this spring and are delighted to be able to announce the tripling of funds to community gardens that make such a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of so many.”
In 2020, new Community Gardens Award funding of £97,210 is being distributed to 44 community gardening projects across England and Wales in memory of the garden writer Elspeth Thompson, who died in 2010. From community-based training initiatives and social prescribing garden projects in GP surgeries to mental health programmes and gardens to foster community cohesion, the selection provides solace and support to people across the country. £165,000 of the total donation is also funding bursaries to support gardeners in a variety of training or apprentice schemes, or who find themselves in hard times.
George Plumptre, added: “It is thanks to the overwhelming generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors, both past and present, that we have been able to raise such staggering amounts for charity by opening beautiful gardens to the public. Whether our beneficiaries provide community nursing and care, build gardens for patients with spinal injuries, care for individuals with a terminal illness, support people with mental health conditions or champion community cohesion, we are proud to continue funding the amazing work they do to change people’s lives for the better.
“Donating over £58 million in our 93 year history and being the largest cumulative funder of most of our beneficiaries is no mean feat, and we hope very much to open our garden gates again soon, for the benefit of the visiting public and our beneficiaries.
“The National Garden Scheme’s history, its portfolio of exceptional private gardens and its support of nursing, health and community-based charities is full of stories of hope and of people coming together to create peaceful spaces, reduce isolation and to find respite. Although we won’t be able to share all of those stories with you in person over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to share them via our website and social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.”
With a significant fall in income inevitable, people can continue to support the National Garden Scheme and its beneficiaries by making a donation in lieu of the gardens they may have visited at: https://www.justgiving.com/ngs/Donate