Flourishing for 40 years, our partnership with the National Garden Scheme reaches an important milestone

Published: 07 May 2024

Learn more about the impact of our partnership with the National Garden Scheme and the benefits of gardening on people living with cancer.

A white woman with short brown hair and glasses.

Ros Ayres Digital Content Editor at Macmillan

Working together to help people living with cancer since 1984

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Macmillan’s partnership with the National Garden Scheme, making them our longest standing partner. The generosity of National Garden Scheme garden owners, volunteers and visitors has contributed over £19 million to support people living with cancer across the UK.

This has funded over 150 Macmillan nurses as well as making a major contribution to the construction of three brand new cancer centres:

Watch the video below to learn more about the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit. You can watch the video in English with Cym subtitles.

Gardens and Health week

National Gardens Scheme sign

In May each year, the National Garden Scheme’s Gardens and Health Programme raises awareness of the physical and mental health benefits of gardens and gardening for everyone.

This Gardens and Health week which runs from 4-12 May, we are encouraging Macmillan’s supporters to visit National Garden Scheme gardens to enjoy the sense of wellbeing a beautiful outdoor space can bring. You can find a garden to visit near you.

"Spending time in the garden definately helps me." Maggie's story

Maggie sitting on a bench in her garden.

Maggie Porteous, 59 from Chinley in Derbyshire is one of the many people who have benefitted from the National Garden Scheme’s partnership with Macmillan.

Maggie was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2022 and treated at the NGS Macmillan Unit in Chesterfield. She describes how gardening helped her cope with cancer treatment.

She said: “My garden became even more important to me after my diagnosis of breast cancer. As a cancer patient you feel that you are on a rollercoaster, with very little control as you move through the process of surgery and then treatment.

It’s very easy to become hyper focused on cancer, and to spend too much time thinking “what if…” in a very negative way. Spending time in the garden definitely helps me. And when I am feeling low or worried, being out in the fresh air in the garden immediately lifts my mood.”

Maggie was inspired her to open her own garden with husband Adrian in 2023.

She said: “I’ve known the National Garden Scheme for years, have visited numerous gardens, and always thought that I would open my garden “when I grow up”. I hadn’t really registered that the building I was being treated in had been part funded by the National Garden Scheme until I was sitting there, waiting for my results. I took this as a sign that now was the time to open my garden to raise much needed funds for charity, including for Macmillan.”

Our partnership champions the physical and mental health benefits of gardening, which we know can be valuable and comforting for people living with cancer. Read more about the impact gardening can have on people living with cancer.

A massive thank you to the 3,500 garden openers, county organisers, staff and trustees at the National Garden scheme for their generosity and passion over the last forty years.

Find out how Macmillan can help

Visit Macmillan’s Wellbeing Hub, our dedicated page with expert self-care advice if you have cancer or are supporting someone who does. Get advice on the different types of physical activity you can try.

About our information

This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan's Digital Content Editor team and checked by Macmillan's Cancer Information Development team.

Learn more about our Digital Content Editors and how we produce our cancer information.