UPDATE The Fund is still accepting and considering applications for activity that can be undertaken at a future date when COVID-19 restrictions will permit, AND ALSO for activity which can take place whilst restrictions are in place, so applicants should continue to apply for Awards.
HOWEVER, due to government travel restrictions, the committee are carefully considering whether they can make awards for travel planned from 2022.
Training Awards - The Diana Aitchison Fund
The SRGC administers the Diana Aitchison Fund. This fund provides awards to support young people who want to pursue a career in horticulture, and especially to further their knowledge of alpine and rock garden plants, and their cultivation. The fund was established thanks to a generous bequest from the late Diana Aitchison. She was a keen gardener and plantswoman who set up and ran her own nursery at Spindlestone, near Belford, Northumberland.
Priority will be given to students following horticultural courses lasting one or more years and might go towards fees, living costs or travel expenses, either on a full-time course or at another location, such as summer work experience at a botanic garden or nursery. A personal contribution toward the cost of any course would be expected from any recipient.
Grants from the Diana Aitchison Fund will be available each year. An indication of the value of awards made in previous years is given in the full information sheet available from the link below.
If you are interested in applying the please look at the Information Sheet and read this carefully.
To apply, please download and complete a Grant Application Form (pdf). There are no deadlines for receipt of applications, and these can be emailed at any time to: The Fund Administrator, Matt Topsfield, phone 07775 812036 or .
The Institute of Horticulture has a Bursaries and Grants page detailing other possible sources of funding.
Recipient Story 1 - John Foley
In 2012, John Foley from Bolton-by-Bowland was the first winner of the prestigious BBC Young Gardener of the Year Award.
The SRGC is delighted to have been able to be involved in encouraging John at the start of his career from giving him experience of the retail side as he sold plants from a trade stand at shows as a schoolboy.
Later he received an award from the SRGC Diana Aitchison Fund.
Here are examples of some previous Exploration Awards from 2019:
Placement at Gothenburg Botanic Garden
Placement in European Botanic Gardens
Placement at St Andrew's Botanic Garden RHS Level 2 course