Public encouraged to visit a garden during NGS Festival Weekend in support of Help the Hospices

Jun 05, 2014

Members of the public are asked to take some time out this weekend and enjoy ‘a cuppa’ and cakes in some of the UK’s most beautiful gardens during the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) Festival Weekend which helps to raise funds for Help the Hospices.

A total of 350 NGS gardens across the country will be open to the public on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June for the NGS’s second annual Festival Weekend.

Under the scheme, private gardens are opened up to the public who donate a small entry fee. At most gardens you can also buy refreshments and exclusive plants sold by the garden owners.

The NGS has supported Help the Hospices - the UK’s leading hospice care charity - since 1996 and helped raise more than £3 million for hospice care through its garden openings.

Gardens and horticulture play an important role in hospices by providing a peaceful location for rest and reflection for thousands of terminally ill people and their families. They are often used as informal locations for bereavement support for a patient’s loved ones. Many day care programmes incorporate horticultural therapy into their programmes as they encourage patients to interact socially and learn new skills and generally enhance wellbeing.

Michael Howard, Chair of Help the Hospices, and actor Jim Carter both encouraged people to turn out for the NGS Festival Weekend to support the work of Help the Hospices.

Lord Howard of Lympne said:

"The National Gardens Festival Weekend offers the chance to catch a glimpse of some of Britain’s most beautiful gardens looking at their best.

"Gardens are very important places for hospice patients and their families. Many of our member hospices have therapeutic gardens designed to help patients relax, de-stress and provide a place for reflection.

"I hope many people will turn out to help raise funds for Help the Hospices and its important work supporting the UK’s hospices by visiting an NGS garden over the Festival Weekend, and also encourage their family and friends to come along too."

Jim Carter, who plays butler Mr Carson in the popular ITV series Downton Abbey, added:

"The National Gardens Festival Weekend presents a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to explore a variety of beautiful gardens and enjoy them at their finest during the summer.

"Gardening is a personal passion of mine, so the chance to enjoy tea and cakes and gaze at greenery in a scenic garden sounds like a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

"I do hope lots of people will come and visit NGS gardens during the Festival Weekend and help support the important work of Help the Hospices and the other charities that benefit from the funds it raises."

The NGS has more than 3,800 scenic gardens located across England and Wales which members of the public are able to visit. They include gardens belonging to several of Help the Hospices’ member hospices.

To visit your nearest NGS garden visit their website

Notes to Editor

  • Help the Hospices is the UK’s leading charity for hospice care which supports and champions the work of 219 hospices across the UK.
  • Hospices provide vital care for people with terminal illnesses and life-limiting conditions and also support their families and carers.
  • Operating since 1927, the NGS has raised more than £35 million for charities through donations from 750,000 visitors each year who visit its gardens.
  • Over the years the NGS, which is the largest funder of Help the Hospices’ work, has supported different areas of the charity’s programmes including training for hospice staff, equipment for delivering hospice care at home and national projects supporting clinical excellence.

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