The National Garden Scheme is partnering with The National Autistic Society to promote gardening and health with grants to local branches.

Photograph of Denbighshire and Conwy BranchEvery year, the National Garden Scheme helps around 3,700 gardens to open their spaces to the public and raise vital funds and awareness for a number of charities through entry fees and the sale of teas and cakes. Founded in 1927, when individuals opened up their gardens for ‘a shilling a head’ to raise money for the district nursing organisation, they are this month celebrating their 90th birthday and raising over £50 million for their selected charities. 

This year, their newest charity partner is The National Autistic Society having been chosen for the National Garden Scheme’s Gardening and Wellbeing Grant. The grant means we will be able to bring the significant benefits of cultivating and spending time in a beautiful garden to more autistic people and their families across the country. 

Alan Gardner, Channel 4's The Autistic Gardener and Cultural Ambassador of The National Autistic Society said; 

Working closely with young autistic trainees on The Autistic Gardener series showed me how gardening projects can promote team work and boost the confidence of autistic people, who frequently suffer from very low self-esteem. 

Through this partnership we will be expanding the benefits of gardens and gardening to a number of our local support branches across the country – enabling them to visit gardens, start gardening clubs, build allotments and even to create sensory gardens.

Find out below what some of our branches plan to do over the next year:

North Northumberland Branch
Herefordshire Branch
Denbighshire and Conwy Branch
West Norfolk Branch
Plymouth Adult Aspergers Branch
Cambridge Branch
Redbridge and District Branch

 

North Northumberland Branch

Photograph of the North Northumberland BranchThe North Northumberland branch will be working with Lord and Lady Howick who have generously offered space at Howick Hall to create a sensory garden. The Hall is an existing garden open to the public and was mentioned in BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine as being one of the UK’s top 5 coastal gardens. A professional gardener, along with the consultation and support of the group, will design a self-contained space concentrating on a range of sensory experiences. This sensory garden will offer a safe familiar space in which the branch can hold regular gardening days and can be used as a regular meeting place for members, such as for their monthly support group. 

Herefordshire Branch

Photograph of Hereford BranchA number of members from the Herefordshire Branch are already keen gardeners. The Branch is looking to expand their gardening session by getting the equipment and tools they need, as well as a green house and developing an allotment site. The group is also planning a trip to visit a local garden. 

 

 

Denbighshire and Conwy Branch

Photograph of Denbighshire and Conwy BranchWith the support of the National Garden Scheme the Denbighshire and Conwy Branch is going to develop six individual allotments for families and a community garden for the whole branch. They hope this activity will bring health benefits for autistic children and their families helping them to increase the exercise they do and reduce their stress and anxiety. To supplement these benefits even further they will also be running classes around healthy eating, cooking and preserving foods. As some of the children from the group have to be home-schooled there will be a focus on learning opportunities all-round. 

West Norfolk Branch

Photograph of West Norfolk BranchOver the next year, the West Norfolk Branch will be developing a communal allotment incorporating a sensory garden area which will be open to all members. This will be a safe space where members can regularly tend the garden or just enjoy the peaceful environment, as well as providing a social space where members can come together. 

 

 

Milton Keynes Branch

Photograph of the Milton Keynes BranchThe Milton Keynes Branch is keen to develop part of their community land into a sensory, atmospheric and relaxed garden environment for their members, carers and wider community to enjoy. Already they have developed mood boards and shared ideas on developing the available space. The group is eager for a space that allows for relaxation time as well an educational space where they can enjoy health, horticulture, and home grown produce for their cooking sessions. They also plan to organise guided tours to famous local open gardens. 

Plymouth Adult Aspergers Branch

Photograph of Plymouth Adult Aspergers BranchWith the support of The National Garden Scheme, the Plymouth Adult Aspergers Branch is planning a summer of visits to local gardens. Every month, from June to September, the group will visit a different garden including Saltram House, Coleton Fishacre, Buckfast Abbey and the Eden Project. 

 

 

Cambridge Branch

Photograph of Cambridge BranchThe Cambridge Branch regularly meets at the Chitra Sethia Autism Centre which has a beautiful garden designed by Alan Gardner. The branch aims to encourage more members to enjoy the garden by starting a Gardening Club and installing a glasshouse for their group to be able to work in. The new Club offers members the chance to develop and learn new life skills whilst socialising and enjoying gardening activities.   

 

Redruth and District Branch

Photograph of Redbridge and District BranchThe 24 adults and 8 volunteers from the Redruth and District Branch are planning to use their grant to visit the Subtropical Gardens at Dunster Castle in September. 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to The National Garden Scheme for their generous support. We look forward the positive impact we can achieve through working together over the next year with our grants for gardening.

For regular updates and to see the progress of our branches throughout the year, follow us on facebook and twitter.