The funding award is the result of two years of partnership work between Sheffield City Council, the charitable Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust and the Friends of the Botanical Gardens.
The project total is £159,900 with £143,900 coming from the National Lottery funding and £16,000 match funding coming from Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust.
The grant means that from the autumn, a full-time education coordinator will deliver learning and training opportunities from the modern purpose-built Dorothy Fox Education centre, drawing on the rich treasures of the gardens to inspire learners of all ages from professionals to hobby gardeners, families and school groups.
Activities will be divided into three strands: cultivate your skills – aimed at professionals and experienced gardeners; grow new knowledge – which will tailor curriculum linked learning to schools and young people; and Bbloom with confidence – which will deliver a programme of inclusive discovery activities to showcase the Botanical Gardens as a space for exploration and wellness for the whole community.
Health and well-being and life-long education about plants and horticulture were central to the formation of the Gardens in 1836 and continue to be at the heart of their purpose today. Sheffield Botanical Gardens is home to more than 5,000 different types of plants, the beautifully restored glass pavilions and one of the best preserved examples of a Victorian bear pit in the country.
Miles Stevenson, cChair of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust, said: “We are delighted to hear of this successful National Lottery Heritage Fund application. This is the result of a huge amount of painstaking work and preparation, and an outstanding example of collaboration between the council, the Friends and the Trust. The Trust helped to part-fund the costs of the application and will now be making a grant of £16,000 to trigger the very generous Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
“Expanding the educational work of the gardens is so important for everyone in Sheffield, especially children, and will bring lots of pleasure to many visitors from across the region.”
Councillor Alison Teal, executive member for sustainable neighbourhoods, wellbeing, parks and leisure, said: “Sheffield Botanical Gardens is a beautiful community space for exploration, enjoyment, and wellbeing for all, and we’re thrilled to be awarded the funding for this project. Learners from across Sheffield will have the opportunity to discover the wonder of plants and growing.
“The award highlights the benefits of working in partnership for the good of the city and our marvellous green spaces and is a credit to everyone involved. Our parks have been a vital lifeline during the pandemic and as we continue our recovery, this funding award couldn’t have come at a better time. I look forward to seeing people at all levels, growing and benefitting from their knowledge of plants and our natural environment.”
Jill Thompson, chair of the Friends of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens, said: “It has been a long-held dream of the Friends that, following the restoration of the Gardens, there should be a comprehensive educational programme here. The opening of the Dorothy Fox Education Centre in 2017 heralded the start. Our initial National Lottery Heritage Fund grant supported a Project Development Officer to identify potential audiences, programmes and collaborators.
“This new grant will fund a full-time Education Officer for two years. Their job will be to bring many of the projected programmes into being. Life will be breathed into educational classes and workshops for people of all ages and backgrounds; from school children to university and academy students, from professionals looking to extend their skills to complete beginners. A dream we longed to see fulfilled is now about to become reality.”
David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: "Regenerating and conserving public parks and gardens remains a high priority for us as we commit to promoting more environmentally-sustainable heritage and increasing people’s health and wellbeing through access to nature and green spaces.
"Education plays an important role in making our environment accessible to wider audiences in our community so we are proud that, thanks to National Lottery players, we can support the Sheffield Botanical Gardens in this fantastic project."
An Education Officer will be recruited to the project so that the first educational activities can take place from this autumn.
For more information contact the council's Parks and Countryside service at [email protected] or call 0114 2500 500.
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