RHS to invest £100m in the future of horticulture

1st Jul 2014

10-year strategic investment programme aims to safeguard and advance horticulture for future generations and the environment.

The RHS today (June 25 2014) announces a 10-year strategic investment programme of more than £100 million, which will include opening a new RHS garden and creating two new inner city gardens.

The aim of the programme is to enable the charity to provide even better inspiration and advice for more people – both its members and the British gardening public. It also plans to broaden its appeal and raise the profile and impact of every aspect of horticulture.

With these funds, the RHS will promote and help secure the future of horticulture across the UK by:

• Engaging even more with communities to bring the joy of horticulture and gardening to people, regardless of location and ability

• Creating two new inner city gardens for local communities

• Searching for and opening a fifth garden for RHS members and visitors, in an area of the country where the RHS isn’t currently present

• Redeveloping the hilltop area at RHS Garden Wisley to create a new centre for science, learning, and horticultural events. This third ‘hub’ in the Society’s flagship garden will combine modern science laboratories and a new Herbarium, a library, additional learning and catering facilities, as well as an inspiring Living Science Garden

• Creating a new Learning Centre at RHS Garden Hyde Hall with a teaching garden

• Increasing the number of horticultural apprenticeships offered at RHS Gardens from eight to 22

• Substantially improving the horticulture and infrastructure in the four existing RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall, Rosemoor, Wisley and Harlow Carr through major investment.

Landmark moment

RHS Director General Sue Biggs said, “This is a landmark moment for the RHS. As a charity we are careful with our funds and invest them when we believe the time is right. We have turned around a trend of declining members and visitors, and today are in a strong position after several years of growth, with membership and garden visitors at an all-time high. After years of planning, we are now confident to make this significant investment and increase our work to further help and inspire the millions of people who garden in the UK today.

“This 10-year Strategic Investment Programme substantially expands the scope of our existing Key Investment Projects (KIPs), to increase our charitable work and support the future of horticulture for years to come. Two years ago we announced our five-year investment plan of 10 KIPs with a budget of £27m, financed by £18m from the sale of the lease of Lawrence Hall and £9m from fundraising. We are now increasing our fundraising target to £20m over the next 10 years, with the remaining £80m to come from the RHS."

Sir Nicholas Bacon, RHS President, said: “210 years ago our founders changed the face of horticulture forever when they met in a small London bookshop and resolved to start a Society to further the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. The commitment we make today is no less momentous and will see us taking their original vision out to more people and places than ever before."

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