The Royal Horticultural Society recently have received a £28,000 donation from The Shanly Foundation. The donation is to go towards funding for the new National Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning, due to open at RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey, in 2020.
The Shanly Foundation grant will support the installation of accessible toilets in the new Centre, as well as a Changing Places toilet which is designed to meet the needs of people with profound and multiple disabilities.
The RHS owns four gardens across the UK: Wisley in Surrey, Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, Hyde Hall in Essex and Rosemoor in Devon. In addition to this, RHS has 195 partner gardens that members can access for free at various times throughout the year. Visitors can see the diverse plant collections, as well as outstanding displays of innovative and attractive planting design and good horticultural practices.
The new National Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning includes three purpose-built laboratories, a new herbarium and digitisation suite, two new learning studios and a new library. The Welcome Building, opening in 2019, will be the first phase of Wisley’s transformation and will be home to a beautiful, light and airy arrivals hall with a 100-seater restaurant, café and shop. The perfect spot to greet the 1 million yearly visitors.
Harry Earle Mundil, Trusts and Foundations Executive, RHS, comments: “We are hugely grateful to the Shanly Foundation for ensuring the toilets in our new building can include a Changing Places toilet. These specialised facilities are not required under current building legislation but were deemed hugely important to include to ensure that Wisley is as welcoming and accessible to as wide a range of people as possible.”
Wisley is the flagship garden of the RHS and is the workplace of 75 garden staff, 25 students, 4 apprentices and 100 volunteers that all help ensure that the garden is kept up to the highest standard. Members can explore the 240-acre garden and visit the Wisley Plant Centre where the biggest stocklist of hardy plants in the country can be found.
Tamra Booth, trustee of The Shanly Foundation, comments: “We are excited to be a part of this huge regeneration project at RHS Garden Wisley and extremely proud to assist in enhancing the visitor experience at the centre over the coming years.”
The RHS was founded in 1804 and its vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. The donation from The Shanly Foundation makes up part of the £40 million that they hope to raise to support the delivery of their wider £160million investment into the future of horticulture.
(Image: Approach to the main entrance via the Wellbeing Centre – Copyright Wilkinson Eyre)