Greening Great Britain with communities

The theme in 2020 is Growing Connections – groups will connect with others in their community, through the power of plants

Latest information: 

Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, this year’s RHS Greening Great Britain community outreach programme has been suspended until it's safe to carry out the projects. We'll review the situation later this year.

Fortunately for most of us, there are plenty of ways to stay connected to nature and to each other during the coronavirus crisis – from sharing seedlings in a safe location with neighbours to digitally comparing signs of spring in pictures with friends.

We're working on compiling a range of activities, inspiration and tips to keep you going during this challenging time, but for a few things to consider for starters, see here.

We all know that gardening is good for us, but often what community gardeners value most is the chance to come together with others. Previous Greening Great Britain growers tell us how they treasure the friendships forged by bringing a shared project to life, with plants and nature as their canvas. We also know that many people suffer from loneliness* and isolation, and that connecting with others, particularly when a common goal can be found, can be the best antidote.

Groups are invited to apply for hands-on support from our Community Outreach team, along with a grant of up to £500, to create or revamp a place that will help to bring people together and benefit others in the community.

Meet some of our past participants
In recent years we’ve supported schools and community groups that have come up with ever-inventive ways to bring different people together through a shared gardening challenge. 

A place to share: A church group in Gateshead worked with residents to revamp their garden into a productive space, growing food to share with their local food bank.
Being good neighbours: A secondary school in Edinburgh joined forces with their neighbouring care home to brighten up its courtyard with colourful bulbs and herbaceous perennials.
Spreading the love: Brownies in Yorkshire transformed a train station and gave away plants to commuters.
A new meeting place: A 'Men’s Shed' group in Bristol created a garden out of a wasteland, building a new gardening hub for people in the area to enjoy.

A dementia friendly space: A calming garden was created in Essex for people with dementia and their carers to grow together and relax.
Bringing people together: A team of Greater Manchester groups joined forces to green-up their local area, working with people experiencing social isolation – supporting them to learn new skills and make connections.
Gardens on prescription: A community garden in Yorkshire expanded its space to cater for new gardeners referred by their local GPs to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of growing with others.

Successful applicants will receive the following:

A £500 grant to support your project
Eligible costs could include plants, seeds, tools, gardening accessories, containers for planting or materials to create planters, peat-free compost and soil enhancers. 
Hands-on support and advice from an experienced RHS Community Outreach Advisor

This could involve: 

  • Consultation and help to plan your project 
  • Horticultural advice and plant selection
  • Skills training and workshops 
  • Advice on how to maintain your project into the future

Application guidance
In 2020 we want to work with groups with creative ideas to improve spaces and create connections in their local community through plants and gardening.

Please read the information below really carefully before submitting your application to us. 

If you've identified a suitable site, have permission in place from the landowner and a project in place that fulfils the ‘Growing Connections’ brief, please complete the application form (click on the red box below) by 14 February 2020.  

We'll assess project applications as soon as possible after submission and recommend that you submit your application at the earliest opportunity – your group must have its own constitution and bank account (this does not apply to schools). Please note, as this programme involves hands-on involvement from a member of our Community Outreach team, we're only able to support projects in those regions where we have a project officer located. Please check above for the list of regions and local authorities where we're currently able to offer support. 

The RHS would like to thank M&G for its support of this programme in 2020.

If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us

Loneliness in the UK has been identified as a significant issue, with more than 9 million British people reporting that they feel lonely, either often or always. The UK Government launched a loneliness strategy in 2018, find out more.

If you're planning to green up a grey space in your community tell us what you’re doing to support Greening Great Britain by using the #GreeningGreatBritain​ hashtag on social media. Post a photo or video to show us what you’re growing and tag the RHS.  

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.