HortWeek editor Matthew Appleby speaks to Jeff Colegrave, Nicole Higginson and Neil Gow, all trustees of the Colegrave Seabrook Foundation.
The former David Colegrave Foundation was set up in 1993, in memory of seedsman David Colegrave. During his career, David took a keen interest in supporting and promoting the development of young people, and it was with this in mind that the foundation was launched.
His great friend Peter Seabrook, and fellow horticulturist, became one of the founder trustees and "the éminence grise" of the foundation until his death in January 2022. His name was added to the foundation earlier this year as a mark of respect and also to "lend us additional credibility and allow us to push forward our agenda of helping young people in horticulture".
Although, as Gow says, they are "still reeling" from his death, "as Peter would have wanted, once we got over the initial shock it rejuvinated us and made us even more determined to get on with what the foundation was all about.
"Horticulture is not seen as a profession and therefore we're struggling to attract enough good calibre people into the industry" says Gow adding the foundation is determined to "up our game".
Colegrave, Higginson and Gow talk about the benefits of working with the foundation and how it has changed. Nicole Higginson is one of several new trustees and she explains why she agreed to take on the role.
They outline the scholarships that are now available to encourage the students that "are going to be the future of the industry...embrace the new technologies, the new ways of doing things".
Blue Diamond Garden Centres recently initiated a scholarship which is funding apprentices to help them through their horticulture studies. One of these, an apprentice at New Leaf Plants Tom McDonald, is studying his Level 3 Crop Technician qualification at Pershore College. Other highlights include Majestic Trees funds a travel scholarship and the Colegrave Markham scholarship which funded Tim Curley and James Hearsom and helped them to career success.
Gow speaks about the promotion of the scholarships and then Colegrave discusses the fundraising push the foundation is making – going out to industry players.
He says horticulture is not seen as a profession by many people from outside the industry and is struggling to attract enough good people.
Colegrave points out: "We are really the only charitable organisation who's major remit is to support the next generation coming through into the industry... which is why we are asking companies to support our efforts...to lend their name to some of the scholarships that we support by sponsoring them."
Presenter: HortWeek editor Matthew Appleby
Producer: HortWeek digital content manager Christina Taylor