The National Gardens Scheme
Elspeth Thompson Bursary

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) offers a bursary in memory of Elspeth Thompson who died in 2010. The bursary is administered by the RHS.

Elspeth Thompson was an enthusiastic supporter of the National Gardens Scheme, and wrote a much loved ‘Urban Gardener’ column in the Sunday Telegraph. Elspeth’s husband Frank commented ‘She had a knack of seeing and creating beauty in unlikely places and was enthusiastic about those who gardened for the benefit of others’. The NGS bursary is intended to support those individuals or community projects that capture this spirit.

An annual bursary fund is available to provide financial assistance to amateur gardeners, either individuals or community groups, to enable them to create a garden or horticultural based project for the benefit of the community, or to enable them to acquire horticultural knowledge and skills and to develop and share their love of gardening.

No fixed amount is set, and more than one bursary may be awarded in a particular year. It is envisaged that the maximum amount awarded would not normally exceed £5,000, but smaller project proposals are equally welcome.

Applications are considered annually in February, and the closing date for next year’s applications is 31st December.

To download guidance notes and an application form, please click here. Completed application forms must be returned to

For 2016, five projects will receive £15,408 between them.  The five projects chosen this year are:


Four Greens Community Trust – Plymouth £2500

To convert an unused green space into a community run allotment and garden


Green Synergy – Lincoln £2550

To purchase a polytunnel for the community garden. This charity uses gardening to help people to come together, socialise, learn and thrive.


Growing Together at Independence Matters – Norfolk £1658

Funding a project started two years ago to provide gardening experience for adults with learning difficulties. The project is a sensory garden


Mitcham Community Orchard and Gardens – Mitcham £5600

To transform 1000 sq meters of derelict land into a community garden and orchard.


Hillcrest School – Northumberland £3100

To fund this school for children with special needs.


Further information about Elspeth Thompson and The National Gardens Scheme is available at

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The National Gardens Scheme. A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales.
Charity Number 1112664. Company Number 5631421