RNLI to apply for RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden thanks to Project Giving Back

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will be one of the first two charity beneficiaries of a new scheme, Project Giving Back, established to enable charities and not-for-profit organisations to create a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

RNLI/Derek King

BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth names the Atlantic 85 B-Class lifeboat Chelsea Flower Show during a special ceremony in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Project Giving Back will provide the funds and support required for the RNLI to apply for a prestigious Main Avenue Show Garden at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Being part of the world-renowned show will give the RNLI a great opportunity to raise funds, recruit new supporters and share its lifesaving stories with the huge audience which visits RHS Chelsea each year.

Jayne George, RNLI Fundraising, Marketing and Media Director, says: ‘This is such a wonderful opportunity for the RNLI and we are incredibly grateful to Project Giving Back and the RHS for making it happen. This has been a dreadful year for everyone but there is something very hopeful about planning and creating a garden, and we are excited to be able to share that with our volunteers, supporters and the general public.

‘We can’t say yet who will design our garden or what it will look like, but I am certain that it will honour our charity’s long history of saving lives, inspire our next generation of lifesavers and supporters and, of course, bring some much-needed beauty and colour to all our lives.’

Project Giving Back is the vision of two private individuals* who want to offer a significant springboard to a wide range of charitable causes whose work has suffered during the global Covid-19 pandemic. Established and emerging designers, landscapers and nurseries will be teamed with a range of UK charitable organisations to help raise awareness of the diverse and varied way they support people, plants and the planet.

In 2022, 2023 and 2024, Project Giving Back will support 14 charitable organisations each year with funding and experienced advice to create a range of gardens at the show.

The RNLI joins Mind as the first charity beneficiaries of Project Giving Back. A third application will be for a garden inspired by BBC series Blue Peter, which has encouraged children to enjoy gardening and the natural world for over 60 years. The three applicants will be teamed with established garden designers – to be announced later this year - to ensure their opportunity to exhibit at the show is as high-profile as possible.

Mark Fane, advisory panel member for Project Giving Back and MD of Crocus, says: ‘I feel honoured to have been asked to help establish this ground-breaking support scheme, working alongside experienced industry colleagues to bring Project Giving Back to life. We relish the challenge of supporting a diverse range of charities, designers, landscapers and nurseries over the next three years to help tell the incredible stories of many amazing charities.’

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says: ‘We have seen many charities over the years create inspirational gardens at RHS Chelsea, sharing incredibly important messages, and after a very difficult year financially and emotionally for so many, this project hopes to give many more the amazing opportunity to create their own. I can’t wait to see what gardens will be created as part of this fantastic project over the next three years.’

If the application to exhibit is successful, this will be the first time the RNLI has had a Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. In 1999, to celebrate its 175th anniversary, the charity had a stand in the show’s Floral Marquee, funded and designed by Gateshead Borough Council. And in 2003, the RNLI was the chosen charity to benefit from the show, with money raised funding an Atlantic 85 B-Class lifeboat, later named Chelsea Flower Show by BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth at an event in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The lifeboat is still operating as one of the charity’s training boats.

The news about the RNLI’s RHS Chelsea garden will provide inspiration to those people planning to open their gardens on behalf of the charity this summer. RNLI Gardens is running for the first time this year, and while some activity was cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, many green-fingered RNLI supporters are still hoping to throw open their garden gates to raise money for the charity. For more information, visit www.rnli.org/opengardens

Notes to editors

Photo captions

1. BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth names the Atlantic 85 B-Class lifeboat Chelsea Flower Show during a special ceremony in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Credit RNLI/Derek King

2. Atlantic 85 B-Class lifeboat Chelsea Flower Show in action. Credit RNLI/David Corben

Project Giving Back

Project Giving Back has been established with funding from two private individuals who are RHS Life Members and keen gardeners. It will help UK charitable and not-for-profit organisations recover from the unprecedented effects of the global pandemic by giving them an opportunity to raise awareness of their work at the high-profile RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Find out more at www.givingback.org.uk

*The two funders wish to remain anonymous

About the RHS:

The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.

The RHS is fundraising £40m to transform our gardens, outreach and education facilities, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and opening a new garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, in 2021. We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact RNLI Media Engagement Manager Alison Levett, 07786 668912 / [email protected] or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

Project Giving Back media contacts

For more information about Project Giving Back, please contact Jennie Spears or Clare Johnson at Bloom PR & Communications at [email protected]

RHS media contacts

For more information about or images from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please contact the RHS Press Office at [email protected]

RNLI/David Corben

Atlantic 85 B-Class lifeboat Chelsea Flower Show in action.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.