On Monday 11th June, Angela & Graham O'Connell gave a very interesting presentation on the National Open Garden Scheme. We discovered the history of this charity and that to date that £50 million has been raised for nursing care by garden owners opening their beautiful gardens to the public, sharing their passion and raising impressive amounts of money through entry fees, teas and slices of cake
We learnt that in 1859 William Rathbone, a Liverpool merchant, employed a nurse to care for his wife at home. After his wife’s death, Rathbone kept the nurse on to help poor people in the neighbourhood. Later, Rathbone raised funds for the recruitment, training and employment of nurses to go into the deprived areas of the city.
In 1926 the organisation decided to raise a special fund in memory of their patron, Queen Alexandra, who had recently died. The fund would pay for training and would also support nurses who were retiring. A council member, Miss Elsie Wagg, came up with the idea of raising money for charity through the nation’s obsession with gardening, by asking people to open their gardens to visitors and charging a modest entry fee that would be donated.
Finally in 1927 The National Garden Scheme was founded. Individuals were asked to open up their gardens for 'a shilling a head'. In the first year 609 gardens raised over £8,000. A year later, the district nursing organisation became officially named the Queen’s Nursing Institute.
The beneficiary charities are: The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Carers Trust, Hospice UK, Perennial, Parkinson’s UK and other guest charities.
CLICK HERE for further information on the National Garden Scheme