NGS announces funding for community gardens

To mark the 2023 Community Gardens Week, earlier in April, the National Garden Scheme announced the distribution of £262,140 in funding for some 86 community garden projects across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

George Plumptre, chief executive of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) comments that the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the growing popularity and importance of community gardens and the NGS has responded to this: “Now, at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is forcing many people to find innovative ways to support themselves, their families and their communities our Community Garden Grants are providing even more of a helping hand to thousands of people across the UK“, he said.

Many of the 500 applications the NGS received for funding centred on growing of food for communities, foodbanks and those helping others to learn to grow. Mr Plumptre also pointed out that applications came from a broad spectrum of society, including a number of ethnic minorities: “Community gardens reduce isolation and build friendships, so it is easy to see why people get involved and we are delighted to provide ongoing support to so many inspirational projects,” he added.

Danny Clarke (pictured right) – aka The Black Gardener – and NGS Ambassador, added: “It’s great to see this funding going to the heart of so many community projects. Projects that will help invigorate the people they support and introduce new audiences to the huge benefits that gardens, and gardening bring to their health and wellbeing and to the environment and communities around them.

From social welfare and gardening projects that help the isolated, the disabled and the disenfranchised to support for community orchards, food banks and social prescribing projects at GP surgeries, the funding provides a much-needed boost to those working on or initiating community garden projects throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A full list of projects receiving funding can be found at: 

Many of the funded community projects in turn open for the NGS completing a virtuous circle of giving and giving back. Examples include Rhubarb Farm in Nottinghamshire, providing training and volunteering opportunities to 60 ex-offenders, older people and people with mental and physical health and learning disabilities.  

The Secret Garden in the grounds of Glenfield Hospital in Leicestershire, is hidden behind the walls of a Victorian Walled Garden, lovingly designed and restored for the benefit of all those who visit and in consideration of the rich history and heritage of the garden and wider Leicester Frith site. The garden received funding in 2022 and now opens for the National Garden Scheme on dates in June and July.

In addition to the National Garden Scheme’s annual donations to nursing and health charities, the charity has been funding community gardening projects since 2011 when the awards were set up in memory of Elspeth Thompson, the much-loved garden writer and journalist who died in 2010. Elspeth was a great supporter of the NGS and the programme honours her memory and supports the community gardens she loved.

Since the Community Garden Grants began a total of £650,000 has been donated to almost 300 community projects.

Picture credits: Banner top of page: ©Paddock Allotment and Leisure Gardens, New Malden, London.