Perennial funds additional horticultural trainee at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Perennial, the UK’s only charity dedicated to helping all horticulturists in times of need, is delighted to confirm a new partnership with Cambridge University Botanic Garden.


Starting in September 2014, Perennial will fund a new, seventh, annual trainee placement for the Cambridge Certificate in Practical Horticulture and Plantsmanship course. Widely regarded as one of the best practical horticulture traineeships in the UK, the one-year course offers trainees the opportunity to join the Botanic Garden staff team, enjoying staff benefits and pay in addition to the certificate on completion of the course.

Speaking about the new funding agreement, Sheila Thomson, Director of Services at Perennial, said,

“We are delighted to be able to offer this new traineeship and look forward to working with the team at Cambridge University Botanic Garden for many years to come. We see this placement as an important development in Perennial’s ongoing commitment to make a long-term contribution to horticulture training and a fantastic way to help mark our 175th anniversary this year.”

The funding is provided through Perennial’s Lironi Training Fund, established in 2009 with a generous legacy left to Perennial by Miss Joan Lironi. The charity has been looking for a traineeship to sponsor that offers excellent training and a recognized qualification whilst giving the trainees a reasonable sum to live on.

Sheila Thomson continues,

“We know from our discussions with horticultural students that people who want to train as horticulturists are looking for practical experience coupled with a recognized qualification that will further their employment prospects. This traineeship offers both with the added bonus that trainees are actually employed by CUBG and enjoy the same terms and conditions as other staff. We are really thrilled to be working with the Cambridge University team and hope this partnership leads to further opportunities to fund traineeships in the future.”

Professor Beverley Glover, Director of Cambridge University Botanic Garden said,

“The new Perennial funded trainee place is a huge step forward for our popular horticultural training programme. We are oversubscribed every year and so are delighted to be able to offer a further young person a real chance to establish themselves in their chosen career. All the students we interviewed in April are preparing to begin their training in September and all have a hugely exciting, challenging and rewarding year ahead of them.”

The agreement runs for an initial 5 years with the option to continue if the placement is successful. Interviews for 2014/15 intake took place in April with the first Perennial funded trainee starting in September 2014.



About Perennial

Perennial celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2014 and has set a target to raise £175,000 to go toward helping horticulturists in need. Established in 1839, The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Fund or Perennial as it is now known, helps everyone working in and retired from horticulture, including landscapers, gardeners, garden designers, green keepers, tree surgeons, groundsmen, seed and turf growers, those involved in intensive production horticulture, parks and gardens staff and many more, and their families during times of crisis. The charity provides a range of support to people experiencing hardship whether that is through debt, illness, disability or old age. In the current economic climate this help is needed more than it ever was; in 2013, Perennial helped over 1,200 people, over 85% of whom were still of working age.

As well as York Gate Garden, Perennial runs Fullers Mill Garden in Suffolk. Events planned for 2014 include a garden designed by Jo Thompson in the Floral Marquee at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Special Events at gardens throughout the summer, HortAid 2014, a week of fundraising events in September and in 2014 Perennial is Harrogate Flower Show’s Charity of the Year.

All of Perennial’s funds come from the generosity of the horticulture trade and the garden-loving public. Perennial is calling on everyone who cares about looking after the people that care for our green spaces to get involved by raising £175 for 175 this year. To find out more about the work of Perennial and ways to get involved with fundraising during 2014, please visit, email or call one of the team on 0845 230 1839.

To keep up to date with the latest news, follow Perennial on Twitter: @PerennialGRBS and like Perennial on facebook


About Cambridge University Botanic Garden

The Cambridge University Botanic Garden holds a plant collection of over 8000 plant species from all over the world to facilitate teaching and research. The Garden provides resources including plant material, horticultural expertise and facilities to research workers and lecturers.

Since its foundation, however, the Botanic Garden has also provided a beautiful place for everybody to enjoy and benefit from – a series of wonderful landscapes through which to discover the drama of plant diversity.  The Botanic Garden welcomes around 225,000 visitors every year and runs a comprehensive programme of education and outreach activities for all.