One of the hardest parts of setting up a school or community garden is finding financial or hands on help to get things off the ground. Thankfully, there are lots of places you can go for help - it's often just a matter of knowing where to start.
So I've put together a list of organisations that offer assistance. If I've missed any, or you are aware of any others, do let me know in the comments section and I'll add them on. This list also forms part of my 'Gardening Club - setting up on a shoestring' page
You can try approaching local businesses, particularly nurseries, landscape suppliers or garden centres, to see if they can offer any sort of discount, sponsorship or donation to your gardening club. It's worth clearing this with the school in advance and checking if they have any existing corporate sponsors who could be contacted.
If you are writing to any companies, make sure you call and check the correct person you should address your request to and be prepared to follow up with a phone call. Even better, you could ask children to write the letters as part of a KS2 literacy lesson.
It is also worth letting potential sponsors know how their support will be acknowledged - for example in a newsletter distributed to all parents - and that you will be contacting the local media to publicise the donation.
Hands on Help
Setting up an initial garden area can require a lot of hard work. There are various organisations that you can appeal to for volunteer help for this:
Offers volunteering across the UK for a broad range of community, conservation or environmental causes - including work with schools.
The Conservation Volunteers
If you need extra help with a project you can give your local Conservation Volunteers office call and they can usually provide a team from their regular volunteers.
Community Payback is a punishment for offenders involving tough, physical work on projects that benefit the community and you can request a project for consideration usually via your local probation service.
Awards For All
A lottery grants scheme for grants from £300-£10,000 - for local organisations including schools.
B&Q Community Reuse
B&Q donates unsellable products and materials for re-use by local schools, other educational institutions and community groups, for the benefit of the local community and the environment. For more information contact your local store directly and speak to a duty manager.
BBC Children In Need
Provides grants to benefit disadvantaged children and young people - small grants up to £10k for one year only or large grants of over £10k/year for up to three years.
Awards projects which help rebuild biodiversity and provide places for outdoor recreation (which can include such things as community gardens or woodland walks). The Small Grants Scheme (SGS) offers grants between £250 and £10,000; the Main Grant Scheme (MGS) offers grants between £10,000 and £50,000. Your project must also be based within 15 miles of a Biffa Operation and 10 miles of a licenced landfill site.
Big Lottery Fund Community Programme
Community based programmes to bring the local community together and improve the lives of the people that live within it. There are particular categories for local communities and community wildlife.
DM Thomas Foundation for Young People
Funding is for the most effective projects helping disadvantaged young people in the UK and Ireland.
Ernest Cook Trust
Provides grants of between £100 and £4000 (in small grants category) for the education of young people about the environment and countryside.
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Aimed at improving the quality of life in the UK, including grants for environmental projects and those involving children and young people.
Grants of up to £3000 for state schools and local groups in the areas near Ford plants in Essex (including East London), St Albans, Bridgend (South Wales), Southampton, Daventry, Manchester as well as initiatives in which Ford Motor Company Limited employees and retirees are involved
A free resource which lists thousands of funding and finance opportunities.
Grow Wild is awarding funding of £1,000 to £4,000 to community groups that want to bring people together to transform a communal space by sowing and growing UK native plants.
Registered charities* in England, Scotland & Wales can apply from £500 - £20,000 (£10,000 in Wales) for projects including those supporting healthy living initiatives.
Sita Trust - England
Funding awards up to £50,000 for not for profit organisations wishing to improve access for nature or leisure and recreation facilities for the benefit of the general public. Project must be within a three mile radius of a qualifying SITA UK waste processing location (check here).
Sita Trust - Scotland
http://www.sitatrust.org.uk/scotland Funding awards up to £50,000 for not for profit organisations in the areas of land reclamation, community recycling, public amenities and biodiversity. Project must be within a qualifying radius of a SITA waste processing location (check here).
Tesco Community Champions
Each Tesco UK store holds a community donation budget to help support with requests from their community for local fundraising events. To be considered for a donation please write to the Community Champion at your nearest store (Find your local store).
Tesco Local Community Grants
Administered by Groundwork, the money raised by Tesco customers in plastic bag tax will be used for grants to improve green spaces in communities across England, Wales and Scotland. Projects that will get the green light as a result of the funding will include creating pocket parks, sports facilities, woodland walks, school grounds, hospice grounds and community gardens.
The Conservation Foundation
Offers yews to plant, refurbished tools (you can apply if in Cornwall, Devon, Edinburgh, Lincolnshire, London and Oxfordshire) and Wessex Watermark funding which can give a school, parish council or community organisation a grant of £100-£1500 for an environmental project located within the Wessex Water region - you can check if you are by viewing the map.
The National Gardens Scheme Elspeth Thomspon Bursary
An annual bursary fund is available to provide financial assistance to amateur gardeners, either individuals or community groups, to enable them to create a garden or horticultural based project for the benefit of the community, or to enable them to acquire horticultural knowledge and skills and to develop and share their love of gardening. Grants would not normally exceed £5000.
Trusthouse Charitable Foundation
Foundation provides grants for a range of projects addressing rural issues and urban deprivation with a focus on healthcare and disability, community support & education and the arts.
Waitrose Community Matters
Waitrose's Community Matters initiative supports a wide range of charities and community groups. Each branch of Waitrose has £1,000 to share out between three local good causes each month. The scheme will consider supporting welfare organisations, community groups, schools or local divisions of national charities. To find out more about the scheme visit your local store, which you can find by clicking on the link above.