Bursaries and apprenticeships

Bursaries and apprenticeships


In addition to our annual donations to nursing and health, and gardens and health charities, the National Garden Scheme grants bursaries to help community gardening projects and supports gardeners at the start of their career. 


Support for training gardeners

The National Garden Scheme provides annual funding specifically to support training in the sector – notably for young gardeners. In 2019, we donated:

        ABF The Soldiers’ Charity*                                                     £80,000

        WRAGS (Work and Retrain as a Gardener Scheme)          £65,000

        National Botanic Garden of Wales                                       £20,000

        Professional Gardener’s Trust                                               £15,000

        Garden Museum*                                                                    £10,000

*matched by the Leffman Trust

Total awarded: £190,000

Elspeth Thompson bursaries

In partnership with the RHS, the National Garden Scheme offers annual bursaries in memory of Elspeth Thompson, who died in 2010. Elspeth was an enthusiastic supporter of the National Garden Scheme and wrote a much-loved Urban Gardener column in The Sunday Telegraph. The Elspeth Thompson bursaries support gardening projects aimed at bringing the community together by the sharing and acquiring of horticultural knowledge and skills, and by inspiring a love of gardening across all age groups. In 2018, we donated:

        Echo – Leominster – Horticulture for those with physical, sensory or mental health needs  – £2,667

        Ashley Vale Action Group – Bristol – To create a community garden – £2,785

        Kyra Women’s Project – York – to create a sensory garden for Women experiencing loneliness or in crisis – £800

       Ripon Community Link – North Yorkshire – Develop a site, install water supply and irrigation & a greenhouse – £2,300

        St Ann’s Allotments – Nottingham -To renovate dilapidated allotments  – £2,000

        The Court Community Garden Project – Powys – Enhancement of grounds around sheltered accommodation – £1,316

        The Therapy Garden -Guildford –  Gardening for adults and children with mental health challenges – £3,000

        YMCA East Surrey – Redhill – Gardening for disabled people aged 16 – 30  – £1,340

Total awarded: £16,208

Applications for funding are considered in February each year and the closing date for applications is 31 December of the preceding year. Find out how to apply for an Elspeth Thompson bursary.