The National Gardens Scheme
The National Gardens Scheme was founded by the Queen’s Nursing Institute in 1927 to raise funds to support district nurses, for whom the QNI was responsible until the introduction of the NHS in 1948. By then the Scheme was so successful and popular that the QNI continued it as an annual fundraising project. In 1980 the QNI created an independent charity with the foundation of the National Gardens Scheme Charitable Trust.
Since our foundation we have donated some £40 million to nominated beneficiaries, of which nearly £25 million has been given in the last 10 years. Our continuing support means that for most of our beneficiaries we are the largest cumulative donor in their histories; this is the case with our founders, the Queen’s Nursing Institute, and with our two largest beneficiaries, Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The physical and mental health benefits of visiting gardens and, indeed, of actual gardening are very real and form an increasingly significant link between The National Gardens Scheme and its beneficiaries. In a sense it is integral to our charitable heritage and the element that we are actively developing in partnership with our beneficiaries. Working together with them for the maximum benefits for all of our audiences is a major priority.
The Trustees of The National Gardens Scheme regularly review the charity’s beneficiary policy and in addition to annual donations to major beneficiaries they oversee other donations. Since 2010 a different annual ‘guest’ charity has been chosen from recommendations from NGS volunteers for a special donation. In 2012 the first bursaries from the Elspeth Thompson Memorial Fund (set up by the NGS in 2011) were paid out to small community gardening projects around the country, and the NGS currently provides an annual bursary for a trainee at the Garden Museum in London. The NGS continues to support the National Trust’s careership scheme for training future head gardeners.
The National Gardens Scheme’s commitment to nursing and caring remains constant and we are working closely with our beneficiaries to maximise the amounts we are able to give and the effect that the funds have. Every visitor to an NGS garden is making an essential contribution to the care of others, in particular care at home and for those with chronic or life-threatening illness.
In 2013 over 3,800 gardens will open on our behalf, for you to visit.
Visit the National Gardens Scheme website
What's On? Find events and attractions from The National Gardens Scheme