In May 2021, the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) and the National Garden Scheme announced the creation of a new scholarship programme for community nurses, the NGS Elsie Wagg (Innovation) Scholarship.

Applications to the Scholarship programme are now open, for projects that will begin early in 2022.

The Scholarship will be awarded to the five nurses – in any community specialism – submitting the best applications for projects that promote the health benefits of gardening and garden visiting among a group of people.

The Scholarship is open to all nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. The closing date for completed applications is 29th October 2021.

To apply, go to: https://www.qni.org.uk/explore-qni/nurse-led-projects/ngs-elsie-wagg-innovation-scholarship/

We are delighted to be announcing this important new element to our support for the Queen’s Nursing Institute, the charity which founded the National Garden Scheme over 90 years ago to raise funds to support district nurses. Recent evidence has demonstrated the widespread benefits that gardens offer to a wide range of physical and mental health conditions so we are confident that the expertise and innovation of Queen’s Nurses will ensure that some really important and rewarding projects will appear.

George Plumptre, Chief Executive, The National Garden Scheme

All QNI innovation projects are supported to reach measurable objectives, and to evaluate and report on their success in meeting those objectives. As such it is anticipated that the NGS Elsie Wagg (Innovation) Scholarship will over time, contribute significantly to the evidence base around the value of gardens and gardening to the physical, mental and emotional health of individuals and communities. This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the breadth and impact of novel nursing interventions in the community and we would encourage any nurse to contact us to discuss their ideas and apply.

Sue Boran, Director of Nursing Programmes (Innovation), QNI

The QNI has a long track record of supporting groups of nurses to develop and implement their own ideas to improve the nursing care of the people they care for in the community. Project leaders receive a year-long programme of individual and group support, as well as funding to implement their project to improve healthcare.

Examples of gardens and health projects in the community include:

  • A General Practice Nurse working with colleagues and individuals to create or improve a flower/herb garden at a GP Surgery;
  • A Community Learning Disability Nurse organising visits to National Garden Scheme gardens for individuals and/or groups of service users, family members and volunteers;
  • A Community Mental Health Nurse working with colleagues to support service users to access gardening and garden visiting as part of therapy;
  • A Care Home Nurse working with residents and families to develop a sensory garden at their home and encouraging residents to participate in the planning and to share stories and memories about plants and gardens;
  • A Prison Nurse working with people in prison and colleagues to create or improve a prison fruit and vegetable garden.

Elsie Wagg MBE (1876-1949)

The scholarship is named after Elsie Wagg MBE, the QNI council member who originally had the idea to open gardens to raise funds for the charity, which led to the creation of the National Garden Scheme in 1927.

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