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Lottery support for Moorbank Botanic Garden

Moorbank, Newcastle University’s botanic garden, has been awarded a first-round pass of £194,200  including a development grant of £12,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). 

This project aims to develop and diversify the skills of volunteers at the garden, with the overall aim of enabling more people to appreciate, celebrate and conserve Moorbank’s heritage.

The development funding will be used to progress project plans including the volunteer and marketing strategies for the Garden. If successful at second round, the project will dramatically increase the access local residents have to Moorbank and provide a wide range of opportunities for them to learn skills relating to horticulture, plant biology and other associated topics.

Moorbank Botanic Garden is sited at the top end of Claremont Road on the edge of the town moor and is home to a diverse and unique assemblage of plants collected over the past 90 years by locally and internationally renowned  botanists and plant hunters. The HLF award recognises the importance of the plant collections which have, and continue to, inspire internationally important scientific research in areas ranging from photosynthesis to treatment for Alzheimer’s.

For much of its existence, Moorbank has been a closed facility for use only by students and academics at Newcastle University. However, over the past 10 years, the Friends of Moorbank have come together as volunteers to renovate and develop the garden.  

“The aim of the Heritage Lottery Fund project is to expand, diversify and empower the garden’s volunteer force so that they can learn new skills and take on a range of roles that will enable us to maximise Moorbank’s potential as a sustainable venue for educational and leisure activities,” says Moorbank Director, Anne Borland.

“We are keen to recruit new volunteers from among the local communities that surround the garden and I also hope that some of our own students will be inspired to take on volunteering roles that could include general gardening, design of interpretive exhibits or leading educational tours and activities.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said:
“We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are delighted to give our initial support to a project that will stimulate people’s interest in this wonderful hidden garden. This project aims to provide the community with the chance to learn new skills, discover new passions and play their part as custodians of our wonderful natural heritage. We look forward to working with the University and seeing these plans progress over the coming months.”

Readers may also be interested to know that Moorbank Botanic Garden will be hosting a Nature Party on Sunday  11th March, from 2pm to 5pm. The Garden will be open to the general public and a range of hands-on nature activities will be taking place throughout the afternoon.

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published on: 23 February 2012