The UK’s leading gardening charity, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), has awarded almost £30,000 to support 28 Yorkshire organisations that were in need of a cash injection to allow their community projects to flourish.

Archways in Leeds won the Kärcher prize draw and as well as £500 from the fund received a visit from TV gardener, multi-RHS Gold medal winner and Kärcher ambassador Diarmuid Gavin. His visit was a huge success and helped inspire many of the young people at the drop-in centre to give gardening a chance. He shared gardening tips and presented the group with some new water-saving products worth hundreds of pounds.

Diarmuid commented: "Even as someone who spends a good chunk of their time in the garden, I know how hard it can be to maintain. I want to help inspire everyone to get outside and take pride in their gardens, and get the next generation to take delight their garden.

“This is an awesome venture that will ultimately help improve many people’s lives, as well as the environment and I’m so proud to be a part of it. I’m really excited to meet the team at Archway and help them out with their Urban Growth project.”

Re'new, part of the Archway regeneration charity, works with disadvantaged neighbourhoods and communities across Leeds. The charity provides holistic services to vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to enable them to raise their attainment and aspirations. It also allows them to take part in a range of positive activities to increase skills and confidence and access the support they need to address any issues.

More than 70 charities, schools, community gardening groups, social enterprises and similar organisations applied for funding from the RHS to help finance local projects. This is the second instalment of a three-year £100,000 fund by the RHS to help enhance community gardening in the region and ultimately the rest of the UK. This year, the programme is being supported by Kärcher to celebrate the launch of its new innovative Watering range.

In Yorkshire, six groups will receive up to £5,000 to finance large projects and a further 22 groups will get up to £500 to help fund smaller projects and start-up costs. The six large projects are:

  • Ripon Community Link (Harrogate), a charity that supports people with learning difficulties, is getting £4,940 to install a propagation system
  • St George’s Crypt (Leeds), a charity for the homeless, is getting £1,000 to give their communal garden a makeover
  • Hunmanby in Bloom (Scarborough), a community gardening group, is receiving £2,100 to build a community orchard and wildlife area for its 3,500 residents
  • YMCA White Rose (Sheffield) is getting £4,100 to help fund a new community allotment project for young people from deprived backgrounds in the area
  • Centre at Threeways (North Halifax), an emerging community organisation, is converting an acre of waste land into a growing space
  • Goldthorpe Development Group (Barnsley), a social enterprise, is receiving £2,450 to build a fence around an allotment to make it safer for service users and to create an area for people with sight problems

Organisations that were awarded smaller funds include East Garforth Primary School (Leeds) which aims to help enhance pupils’ lives through horticulture, and Harrogate and District Biodiversity Action Group that is planning to create a wildlife garden on the grounds of a local hospital.

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Regional Development, said: “It gives us great pleasure to award such fantastic organisations much-needed funds that will allow so many important community projects to be realised. We know these projects will ultimately benefit thousands of people. Obviously it’s a shame we couldn’t give funds to every group who applied but of course they’re more than welcome to apply again next year.”

As well as funding, the RHS Regional Development team, Libby Goodacre and Sarah-Jane Mason, both based at RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate, provide additional practical support, advice and expertise.

The Yorkshire investment project, which is also being piloted in Scotland, is part of a wider regional development initiative by the RHS which aims to directly support grass-roots gardeners throughout the UK.

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