Macmillan Cancer Support is today (23 July) celebrating the 35th anniversary of its partnership with the National Garden Scheme.
The partnership is the charity’s longest running one and has so far raised £17.2m, funded 150 Macmillan nurses and helped to open care units in Bristol and Chesterfield as well as a new specialist palliative care unit in South Wales.
Since then, milestones have included:
The National Garden Scheme wins the Macmillan Champion Award for Groups and Associations – celebrating 20 years of supporting Macmillan.
The National Garden Scheme supports Macmillan’s Move More initiative, encouraging people living with and beyond cancer to get active through gardening.
The National Garden Scheme donates £500,000 to help fund the NGS Macmillan Wellbeing Centre at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
Macmillan and the National Garden Scheme celebrate over £15 million raised since the beginning of their partnership.
The National Garden Scheme raises a record-breaking £3.1 million and begins an annual funding programme to support gardens and health-related projects.
The NGS Macmillan Unit at Chesterfield Royal Hospital opens its doors to people living with cancer in North Derbyshire.
Building begins for the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit in South Wales.
The National Garden Scheme pledges £2.5 million to the build of the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit.
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
“Our partnership with the National Garden Scheme has raised an astounding £17.2 million in the 35 years we’ve been working together, which enables us to be right there with people living with cancer from the moment they’re diagnosed. Since 1984, we’ve been bringing people together to enjoy the tranquillity of outdoor spaces with their loved ones, while raising money for a vital cause. We look forward to continuing our work together to support the growing number of people living with cancer.”
Mary Berry, President of the National Garden Scheme, added:
“As President of the National Garden Scheme I am enormously proud of the remarkable amounts of money that our garden openings have helped generate for nursing and health charities. I have always believed that gardens and garden visits can have positive health benefits and this partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support is the living embodiment of that.”
Lessons from the National Garden Scheme partnership
UK Fundraising spoke to the CEOs of Macmillan Cancer Support and the National Garden Scheme and asked them about the lessons and challenges of running and maintaining such a successful partnership.
Q. How does a charity maintain and keep fresh an idea that has continued beyond the ideas and initial impetus of its originators?
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“Since the inception of our partnership with the National Garden Scheme 35 years ago, both of our organisations have seen a huge amount of change. One constant through those periods has been the unwavering commitment to the partnership on both sides, and so we are just as excited about it now as we were in 1984 when we were first invited to become a beneficiary of the National Garden Scheme. In that time, the National Garden Scheme has donated an incredible £17.2million to Macmillan, which has allowed us to support people living with cancer with every aspect of life – whether physical, emotional or financial. This includes the National Garden Scheme’s generous £2.5 million donation to build the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit in South Wales. The state-of-the-art unit means that patients won’t have to travel between units to access specialist treatment and care.
“We regularly meet to discuss new and innovative ways to encourage people to enjoy the tranquillity of a National Garden Scheme space, while raising vital funds so that we can continue to be right there for those who need us. Last year, we launched an exclusive calendar on our online shop in partnership with the National Garden Scheme and this year we’re hosting a photography competition for the public to showcase the images of the National Garden Scheme spaces they visit. We also work to support the National Garden Scheme with their national events, like their annual Gardens and Health Week, which promotes the positive impact gardens can have on both physical and mental health. And of course, we’re lucky to have the support of a brilliant band of 3,500 volunteers across the country who continue to open their gardens every year, with an enthusiasm and energy which is truly inspiring.
“As the number of people living with cancer is set to rise to almost four million by 2030, our partnership with the National Garden Scheme is set to become more important than ever, and we look forward to continuing our work together so that we can be right there for those who need us.”
Q. How has the National Garden Scheme kept its brand distinct, given the rise in alternative open garden events in aid of charity?
George Plumptre, CEO of the National Garden Scheme, says:
“I think our biggest strength is the combination of our results on a national basis over a very long period of time; our heritage where the enjoyment of gardens and the financial rewards to nursing and health have always been directly linked; and the scale of dedication and expertise we are lucky enough to have access to. Put simply, this combination puts us in a different league to anyone else managing their own open garden scheme.”
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