Open your garden for a good cause, green-fingered Sunderland folk urged

Liz Reid's garden in Springwell Village
Liz Reid's garden in Springwell Village
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OPEN up your gardens and help raise cash for charity.

That’s the message from the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) as the end of summer nears.

The organisation raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes each year and organisers say they want more Wearsiders to invite friends and members of the public into their gardens.

Liz Reid, NGS assistant county organiser and her partner Craig, have, over the past 20 years, developed their Springwell Village garden into a welcoming area for visitors.

Inspired by the Caribbean and other parts much hotter than the North East, they have found interesting and unusual plants to make their garden a fun place to relax.

This year they are sharing it to raise money for charity.

Liz said: “It’s such fun sharing the garden with people – they’re full of advice and ideas that they are happy to give over a cup of tea and cake – and it’s a lovely feeling knowing that you’re helping caring charities at the same time.

“This year we’re opening to groups who just need to give us a call to arrange to visit – next year we hope to open to the public on a particular day.

“There are about 20 gardens that open in this area, but we need more, and therefore need to encourage people who own nice gardens – and there must be loads of them – to come forward.”

The scheme was founded in 1927 when people were asked to open up their gardens for “a shilling a head”.

In the first year, 609 gardens raised more than £8,000 for a nursing organisation, officially named as the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

To find out how to open your garden and raise money for charity, or if you fancy a day out in a beautiful garden, or interested in volunteering, go to or contact Liz on 07719875750.