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 2018, 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                                           £19,000
  • Garden Museum                                                              £10,000*

*matched by the Leffman Trust

Total awarded: £194,000 (2017: £185,000)

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:

  • Confederation of Indian Organisations (Leicester)                 £1,200
  • Denbigh in Bloom (North Wales)                                        £1,500
  • Frome Allotment Association (Somerset)                             £2,000
  • Grapes Hill Community Garden (Norwich)                          £1,053
  • GROW Community Garden (Loughton, Essex)                    £1,500
  • Lindengate (Wendover, Bucks)                                            £3,963
  • Mary Stevens’ Park Growing Together (Stourbridge)            £2,000
  • Shocklach Oviatt Primary School (Malpas)                            £1,200
  • Talgarth & District Regeneration Group (Powys)                  £1,200
  • Thames Ditton (Surrey)                                                      £1,400
  • 1st Ockford Ridge Rainbows – Girl Guides (Surrey)                £700
  • Serenity Social & Therapeutic Horticulture (County Durham)  £500

Total awarded : £18,216 (2017: £16,574)

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.