Elspeth Thompson Bursary

National Gardens Scheme

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Grant amount: Up to £5,000

Anticipated deadline: Dec 31, 2019

Applicant type: Individuals Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach

Location of project: United Kingdom

Location of residency: United Kingdom

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The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) offers a bursary in memory of Elspeth Thompson who died in 2010. The bursary is administered by the RHS.

Elspeth Thompson was an enthusiastic supporter of the National Gardens Scheme, and wrote a much loved ‘Urban Gardener’ column in the Sunday Telegraph. Elspeth’s husband Frank commented ‘She had a knack of seeing and creating beauty in unlikely places and was enthusiastic about those who gardened for the benefit of others’. The NGS bursary is intended to support those individuals or community projects that capture this spirit.

An annual bursary fund is available to provide financial assistance to amateur gardeners, either individuals or community groups, to enable them to create a garden or horticultural based project for the benefit of the community, or to enable them to acquire horticultural knowledge and skills and to develop and share their love of gardening.

The NGS has a rare and simple fundraising and grant-making model. Funds are raised annually by visitors paying to attend open gardens and to enjoy home-made teas or buying plants. The totals raised dictate the amounts that are donated annually within a twelve month period.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Amateur gardeners, either individuals or community groups, resident in England and Wales are eliglble.
  • Projects should be based in England or Wales.
  • Funding could cover, for example, the cost of hand tools, plants, trees, shrubs, containers and seating.
  • These projects must be open to everyone and should be 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.
  • More than one bursary may be awarded in a particular year.


  • The following items will not be eligible for funding: 
    • Promotional costs: e.g. production/printing of leaflets
    • Hire tools: e.g. rotavators, JCB, shredders, etc
    • Transport to visit gardens
    • Insurance cover
    • Educational course fees or training costs
    • Volunteer expenses
    • Salaries