RHS Flourish Fund beneficiaries

In 2021 and 2022 the RHS pledged to help a wider range of people to connect with gardening through a new fund supporting skills development

We thank all the organisations that took the time to apply to the RHS Flourish Fund in 2021 and 2022. The selection committee had to make some hard decisions when choosing the recipients. Read more below about the organisations from across the UK that have been successful:


Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Future Gardeners run by Bankside Open Space Trust (BOST), provides free horticultural training to people who have been long-term unemployed, have faced challenges in their lives, and would benefit from the opportunity of training and employment in the industry. Future Gardeners takes place over 14 weeks, three times a year (January, May and September), for up to 14 students.

Students spend one day a week at Walworth Garden studying for a Level 2 City & Guilds qualification in Work-based Horticulture, and one day with BOST at Living Space Community Centre where students undertake practical training at BOST-managed community parks such as Waterloo Millennium Green and Red Cross Garden.
Dorset Community Action
The Seed2Plate project has been designed to fill the gap in entry level training qualifications in horticulture that is currently unavailable in Dorset. To do this, the project is providing a free Level 1 Award in Horticulture, which can then be used as a first step by participants to progressing onto a Level 2 horticulture course with Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester. Practical activities and training will be delivered as a 12-week course, with two four-hour sessions a week.
Flowers from the Farm
The Diversity Action Group (DAG) Scholarship, set up by Flowers from the Farm, aims to support aspiring floriculturists from ethnic minority groups, low-socioeconomic backgrounds and/or people with learning disabilities to gain access to the industry by providing accessible training and mentorship. A Level 2 accreditation will be incorporated into the scholarship, and effort made to secure an additional budget to create a more impactful bursary to support individual start-up costs and offer a robust starter kit.
Thanks to the funding support in 2021, Grow Gardeners enabled work with eight young people, all of whom took a positive step into further education, training or employment. ​Grow Gardeners is a paid work experience and training programme aimed at unemployed young people, at risk of long-term unemployment due to mental ill health or other barriers to employment. Each young person is part of a small gardening team that includes two gardening trainees and one gardening team leader. Trainees work for 15 hours per week for six months and are paid the national minimum wage.
Heeley City Farm
Heeley City Farm’s project, Diversity in Horticultural Skills 2022, aims to target, recruit, engage and enable 10 new learners from the most vulnerable groups and diverse backgrounds to gain the equivalent of a Level 1 practical horticultural skills qualification with a focus on organic practices and growing heritage varieties from seed.
Nene Park Trust
The Your Community Greenspace – Nene Nursery training/apprentice scheme is looking to support a horticulture and landscape apprentice role to enable one individual a two-year apprenticeship. Here they will be able  to build the skills they need to start a career in horticulture, and transfer, when ready, those skills to support volunteers and participants in building horticulture skills.

They will be given the opportunity to be part of building and growing  the space to become a real community asset and also be part of a larger Nene Park Trust team, learning alongside a range of skilled and experienced professionals.
The From the Soil We Grow project offers work experience for 24 individuals through a six-week, one-day-a-week horticultural experience for local 17-19-year-olds learning English for Speakers of other languages (ESOL). OrganicLea is also offering 19 horticultural training placements for those graduating from Level 2 courses needing practice in a horticultural work setting, as well as career transition mentoring for 10 graduates of the training programme.
St Werburghs City Farm
The Flourish Fund continues to support the Urban Growers Scheme, which offers three 12-week volunteer placements for up to 8 people. Sessions are led by skilled horticulturists and provide opportunities to grow in confidence and horticultural skills. This scheme also offers free access to the online course Vegetable Growing for Beginners for up to 20 volunteers in order to increase their horticultural skills and confidence.

As part of the project, St Werburghs City Farm is collaborating with the University of the West of England (UWE) to offer internships and traineeships to students from minority communities. Through this outreach work, the scheme wants to grow community referral pathways into volunteer placements, courses and apprenticeships.
Surrey Docks Provident Society
The Surrey Docks Farm Horticulture Apprentice, run by Surrey Docks Farm Provident Society, aims to provide accessible routes into horticulture careers for young people in London. This opportunity includes an 18 month horticulture apprenticeship, along with free training and support with career progression, all while paid a full time London living wage.

Horticulture apprentices spend four days on the farm developing practical gardening skills and supporting staff to deliver community gardening projects they are directly responsible for fulfilling fruit and vegetable orders through the farm shop, tending the plants and harvesting produce for sale. The fifth day is spent focusing on training offsite, towards Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Horticulture at Walworth Garden.
The Orchard Project
Run at a range of outdoor venues in North London and online, The Orchard Project offers a Level 3 Certificate in Community Orcharding (CICO) as part of its London Orchardists’ work. This regulated qualification teaches participants everything they need to know about managing community orchards through a combination of theory and practical skills. The funding will provide eight places for those currently under-represented in this horticultural sector. In addition, these learners will have a bursary to help cover travel and lunchtime expenses while on the course.
The Patchwork Garden Project
The Patchwork Academy, part of The Patchworking Garden Project, offers City & Guilds Level 1 and 2 in Practical Horticulture to 10 students living with autism, brain injury, mental ill health and anxiety. The qualification is delivered by three professionally trained Horticulture Therapists (two also Chartered Horts). Students given this opportunity have previously attended the main Patchworking Garden Project and wish to learn in a safe space to help them move onto volunteering or paid employment.


Bankside Open Spaces Trust
RHS Flourish funding will support the Future Gardeners Programme run by Bankside Open Spaces Trust.  Future Gardeners provides a 14-week free horticultural training programme for those who have been long-term unemployed, have faced challenges in their lives and would benefit from the opportunity of training and employment in the horticultural industry.

All those on the programme work towards a Level 2 City and Guilds qualification in Work-based Horticulture.
Birmingham City Council
Through RHS Flourish funding, free places on Birmingham City Council’s ‘Sow and Grow’ Course will be made available to those currently unemployed who have a keen interest in the green sector and who wish to enhance their knowledge and explore their next steps within professional horticulture.
Core Arts
Core Arts will use RHS Flourish funding to expand its inclusive programme of horticultural workshops, which focus on promoting onward opportunities into gardening for those currently under-represented in the sector; inspiring people to see opportunities in new and exciting ways that are relevant to them.
Edible Estates
The Edible Estates Growing Youth programme, run in partnership with Edinburgh Council, provides external learning opportunities for young adults who are ‘outside of curriculum’.  RHS Flourish funding will enable Edible Estates to provide additional training and support in horticulture, particularly in growing local food and to meet the costs of putting young adults through the Caleys Grow and Learn – Roots programme.
Grow run programmes that combine coaching with nature-based projects that have horticulture at their heart. Their aim across all programmes is to promote wellbeing, reduce isolation, provide quality training and develop employability for young people. The Grow Gardeners programme is a paid work experience and training programme aimed at unemployed young people who are at risk of long-term unemployment due to mental ill-health and other barriers to employment. RHS Flourish funding will enable support for the essential horticultural skills training delivered on a weekly basis in practical workshops which are specifically designed to support trainees from lower income households to access horticultural skills.
Hackney Herbal
RHS Flourish funding will enable Hackney Herbal to run a traineeship programme for five people from underrepresented groups focusing on organic herb growing. Each trainee will receive a bursary to cover their time in attending the traineeship to make this an accessible opportunity and remove the financial barrier many people face in accessing and attending training.
National Botanic Garden of Wales
The introduction of the ‘Roots to Success’ programme at National Botanic Garden of Wales will build on its existing education, training and apprenticeship opportunities by developing a course in horticulture which allows entry into its apprenticeship RHS Level 2 course. The project will build links with schools, communities and audiences who do not traditionally engage with horticulture and develop new pathways and opportunities for them.
In 2021, R-evolution launched a Horticulture Training Project at RHS Partner Garden, Normanby Hall Country Park.  The project trains disadvantaged people to develop skills in horticulture and to improve public spaces at the Country Park for community use. Trainees also receive employability skills training and life coaching from an in house Life Coach.  RHS Flourish funding will enable R-evolution to expand this exciting and rewarding project through 2022.
St Werburghs City Farm
St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol offers community services to equip people with knowledge, skills and confidence, with a particular focus on those who are oppressed, marginalised or experiencing difficulties. The RHS Flourish funding will be used to pilot St Werburghs' Urban Growers Scheme; a 12-week programme for up to eight people at Propagation Place, a community plant nursery and to assist in the funding to employ four young people for 12 months in a range of horticultural, farming and land management roles.
Surrey Docks Provident Society
Following on from the introduction last year of its Horticulture Apprenticeship for young people under 30, Surrey Docks Provident Society will use RHS Flourish funding to establish the apprenticeship on an 18 months basis. The Horticulture Apprentice role supports staff, students, club members and volunteers in projects and in due course will take on secondary school and college students on 2–3 week work experience placements, while at the same time working towards a Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Horticulture with a day per week training offsite.
Walworth Garden
RHS Flourish funding will enable Walworth Garden to improve social inclusion and diversity within horticulture by facilitating an in-depth and focused programme with a small group of students from backgrounds historically excluded from the industry. Each participant will be enrolled into the City & Guilds accredited Level 2 Work-Based Horticulture Diploma programme in addition to joining the garden for additional paid working days.
Young Enterprise Scotland
Young Enterprise Scotland, along with Tenement Veg Co-op, will use RHS Flourish funding to develop a food growing traineeship to offer young people from underrepresented groups in horticulture the opportunities to develop skills in sustainable food production. Over the course of the project all participants will carry out the practical tasks to grow several crops from field to fork, attending weekly sessions.

The successful organisations will share the fund, enabling them to grow their training and development offerings, benefitting more people and helping to pave the way for a career in horticulture.

© Louisa Mansfield, Project Manager, Future Gardeners, Bankside Open Spaces Trust

© Louisa Mansfield, Project Manager, Future Gardeners, Bankside Open Spaces Trust

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