RHS: ?100,000 fund will help gardening groups plant more sustainably.

Communities across Yorkshire can now apply for grants to help fund local gardening projects as the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) launches the second installment of its ?100,000 grassroots gardening programme, now supported by K?rcher to mark the launch of its new watering range.

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

An application picked at random will also win a visit from multi-RHS-medal winner and K?rcher watering range ambassador, Diarmuid Gavin, who will share gardening tips and present the group with some new water-saving products worth hundreds of pounds.

Diarmuid said: ?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.

?In this climate, it can be a real struggle to find funding to support important projects, like the creation of allotments, transforming neglected land and creating sustainable planting schemes.

?A key aim of the scheme this year is to enable communities to garden more sustainably so we don?t exhaust our natural resources like water, peat and fuel, and a key way of doing this is by managing water effectively.

?I?ve met so many gardeners who want to make changes to their current practices, such as switching from seasonal to sustainable planting, but they?ve been unable to for lack of funding and we want to change that.?

Last year, more than 100 communities applied for funding and support from the RHS, and 32 groups received grants of up to ?8,000. For example, Keyhouse, a homeless charity in Keighley (Bradford), received ?5,000 to help build a kitchen garden for its service-users. Before the project at Keyhouse began, only 2% of its 5,000 service-users got five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and most lacked the skills and confidence to find jobs. Helping to build and run the allotment has allowed service-users to develop new skills, and fresh produce is now available every day.

Libby Goodacre, RHS Regional Development Manager, said: ?We?ve received great feedback from communities who benefitted from the scheme last year and it has been fantastic to see the projects evolve. To be able to provide hands-on expertise, at a local level, and funding to groups who need the money has been so satisfying. I can?t wait to start again this year and help community gardeners and communities grow.?

Community groups, like Keyhouse, who are based in Yorkshire and The Humber may apply for grants. Large grants up to ?10,000 will cover capital costs such as site-based improvement works including planting schemes with associated landscaping. Small grants up to ?500 will cover set-up costs.

The deadline for this year?s applications for the RHS K?rcher Community Fund is Friday 14t March 2014 and groups can apply here:http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Community-gardening/Regional/Yorkshire-community-fund-2014

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