Kewite-mail, December 2021

Dear Kewites and Friends,

I am delighted to report that we are rounding off 2021 as a stronger organisation.

The year has seen the Kew Guild repositioned as an inclusive organisation within The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and externally via our charitable outreach.

Affiliate Membership

Our new Affiliate Membership is now available to anyone working or volunteering at Kew. This enables the Guild to engage directly with our colleagues. All new members will receive a copy of our latest journal during their free membership year, which highlights the fellowship we offer and the charitable work we do within Kew and within the horticultural industry.

This is the biggest push for membership growth the Kew Guild has seen for many years. The Affiliates programme will become part of an induction into Kew in the future. To quote, RBG Kew Director, Richard Deverell; “we should have done this years ago”.

Supporting education – Discovery Days

The Kew Guild supported a ‘Discovery Day’ held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on 14 October 2021.  The event was a joint initiative between the Royal Parks Guild and the London Legacy Development Corporation in partnership with The Tree Council, supported by WCOG including its Livery Schools Links initiative and other organisations.

As a major sponsor, the Kew Guild enabled involvement by school-aged participants for the first time, and thus extended the reach of this initiative. A key aim was for apprentices and trainees to meet each other and discover places and topics they may not encounter day-to-day.

Attendees heard from experts in the field and those starting out in their career, behind-the-scenes tour of London Stadium, and networking lunch, then join a guided tour of the Olympic Park gardens and landscapes.

The final figures were impressive. Around 200 horticultural/environmental apprentices and trainees, from London and beyond, attended the event along with school children, teachers, speakers, training officers, employers and volunteer supporters, making the total over 250. 

The event was a great success. A full report of the event is being prepared, including comments from participants, along with a video of the day which we will upload to our website.

Supporting education – Introduction to Horticulture Programme

Pictured clockwise from top left, Muhammed Ismail Moosa, Aneel Odhwani, Florence Akanbi-Guei and Stephanie Li, who will combine their time working hands-on on-site at Kew Gardens with study days at Capel Manor College.

This year also saw a very positive contribution from the Guild, as we supported The Introduction to Horticulture programme, by fully funding one student’s position. 

Head of School of Horticulture at Kew, Tim Hughes said; “To open up the fantastic world of horticulture to people from ethnic minority backgrounds, who are under-represented in the sector, and enable them to pursue horticulture as valid career option”.

Students will graduate with the qualification The Maintenance Gardener (Level 1), equipping them with experience, skills and knowledge, required to take the next steps in their careers.

With so much activity, and more eyes than ever looking at what we are doing, the Kew Guild will continue to develop with exciting plants to relaunch our website in early 2022, enabling the Guild to share our success stories and allowing for easier membership navigation.

The Kew Guild Awards Scheme

The Awards Scheme application process will also be a much easier journey. The site will be an online version of our esteemed Journal with up-to-date news and video content. Of course, our Journal will continue, with a new editor coming on board to take over from the Ward family, as they hand over after a generation of greatly appreciated support.

The Annual Dinner

Our highly anticipated evening dinner is confirmed on 26 May 2022 at Kew and this will be our first annual dinner since Covid restrictions were introduced. We will shortly be confirming all the exciting details and hope to see you on the day.

COVID stories

Sparkle Ward and Richard Ward are asking you to send in your COVID-19 stories – how it has affected you, your work life, your student life, your business or your retirement. Given impact this has had on all of us we believe that this should be recorded for posterity in the ‘Events of 2021’ Kew Guild Journal. Please email editor@kewguild.org.uk very soon.

Your views and comments on the Guild and its activities are always welcome, contact Sara – secretary@kewguild.org.uk

Not forgetting News of Kewites – we always want to hear from you, no matter what your story, contact Pamela – newsofkewites@kewguild.org.uk.

Direct Debits

Thank you to everyone who has signed up to pay subscriptions by Direct Debit. We apologise if you have incorrectly received the reminder letter to sign up – we are working to correct this gremlin.

Floreat Kew. Chris Kidd, President 2020-22.

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