Funded Travelling Fellowships for people involved in Horticulture

Published: 11 May 2016

Funded Travelling Fellowships for people involved in Horticulture

In 2017, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust will be investing around £1.3 million in British citizens, by awarding 150 Travelling Fellowships.

This will directly support British citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and best practice to benefit others in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole.

Travelling Fellowships will be awarded in the Horticulture category, and the application process is now open.

With mounting evidence that regular involvement in gardening can aid improved physical and mental wellbeing1, it is clear that investing in horticulture can have a number of social, as well as environmental, benefits.

The Horticulture Fellowships will run in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, who are celebrating the tercentenary of Capability Brown’s birth.

Applications are welcomed from people involved in any aspect of historical or contemporary landscape design. Those working on projects on how horticulture can further contribute to society, and improve health, wellbeing and quality of life, are particularly encouraged to apply.

John Phibbs travelled to Sweden and Russia in 1983 on his Churchill Travelling Fellowship, to investigate English style landscape designs in Northern Europe. He wanted to understand more about the techniques and problems facing these landscapes, as well as maintenance difficulties. His aim was to promote ways that formal and English traditions of gardening could be considered as compatible, rather than opposed to each other. John has gone on to become the Principal of Debois Landscape Survey Group, and is a renowned garden historian and author with more than 30 years’ experience of planning and management of historic landscapes, conservation and restoration planning. He set up the Capability Brown 1716–2016 Partnership of 20 organisations to celebrate the life and achievements of Britain’s greatest landscape gardener, and to spread greater understanding and enjoyment of his work and influence. His book on Capability Brown as a designer is due to be published in October 2016. John is encouraging owners of the surviving Brown landscapes to open them to the public for celebration during 2016.

Among those travelling this year, in this category, are:

  • Anna de la Vega, the owner of The Urban Worm, an organic waste management and gardening project in Nottingham. She will be travelling to Cuba and the USA to investigate approaches to food production and worm composting.
  • Matthew Smith, a gardener from Evesham, who will be travelling to France and South Africa to explore the flora of the region as discovered by historical plant hunters.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, the character and the tenacity to travel globally in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK, and upon their return work to transform and improve aspects of today’s society.

A travelling sabbatical for people with the drive, determination and desire to help others, can further their leadership and role model abilities.

Employees who are awarded Fellowships bring great benefits to their employers, not only in terms of the positive impact on their personal development, but also with the advantage of their enhanced knowledge, new ideas and examples of best practice that they bring back to the organisation.

Applications are judged purely on project merit, and these opportunities are available to all UK residents over the age of 18, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Successful applicants will receive an average Fellowship grant of over £6,000, covering return airfare, daily living costs, insurance and travel within the countries being visited, for approximately six weeks overseas.

Notes to Editors

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established shortly after Sir Winston’s death in 1965, as his national memorial and living legacy. Since then it has awarded over 5,250 Travelling Fellowships.

The application process for travel in 2017 is now open, and there are 14 varied categories in which people can apply.

Churchill’s beliefs and passions are still living on through the Fellows – who are remarkable individuals, representing a wide range of backgrounds, qualifications, interests and professions, but sharing the desire to do something for the improvement of individuals and communities in the UK.

The deadline for the 2017 applications is 5pm on Tuesday 20th September 2016.

In total 150 Fellowships were awarded in the UK in 2016, an investment of over £1.4 million. The Fellows are currently travelling to 52 countries between them, across 6 continents, carrying out a wide range of projects.

To maximise the impact of the Fellowships partnerships have been developed with other organisations, focused on specific areas of concern and relevance for the UK today. Lessons learnt from overseas travel are effectively coordinated and disseminated, and incorporated into best practice in the UK for the benefit of others in similar communities and professions.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is committed to bringing the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspiring the next generation of gardeners and investing in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. They are funded entirely by members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. For more information on how to support the RHS and help secure a healthy future for gardening, call 0845 130 4646, or visit


1. From The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing, Garden Organic and Sustain, April 2014