Latest Newsletter


BBSRC has new chair and council members

Prof Janet Bainbridge’s comment on the NCUB report

Countryside Productivity Scheme – Grant for LED lights

Countryside Productivity Scheme – Grant for LED lights


The government, through the Rural Payments Agency has recently announced a Countryside Productivity Scheme grant to assist in the purchase of LED lighting with wavelength control.   The grant support is provided to encourage the adoption of innovative techniques.


After clarification from RPA, it is clear that LED lighting tuned to specific, but fixed, wavelengths,  as well as systems where the wavelength of light from an LED unit can be adjusted via computer control, can both be considered for grant support.  Grants will cover up to 40% of the total eligible costs of a proposal though it is a relatively small grant – for between £2,500 and £35,000.


For more information on the grant scheme see

STC proud to sponsor 1 of the prizes in the YHoY competition



Chartered Institute of Horticulture Northern Branch

Young Horticulturist of the Year Regional Final

News Release


Sian Nichol wins at second attempt!


Saturday March 14th saw Sian Nichol from Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus beat off seven other regional finalists to take the top prize and a place in the forthcoming prestigious CIH Grand Final at Barrington Court on May 9th where she will compete against seven other Regional Final winners for the Percy Thrower Trust’s £2500 Travel Bursary. Sian won the first prize of £150 plus a spade and fork set sponsored by Bulldog Tools and, along with the other seven finalists also took home a copy of the latest edition of the Collins Guide to Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Garden Plants. This is a new addition to the prizes on offer and has been sponsored by Stockbridge Technology Centre. The prize is known as the Bruce Rigby Memorial Prize and is memory of a branch member who passed away in 2014. With an audience of more than 30 sponsors, employers and family to support them, the eight contestants showed themselves to be amongst the best young horticulturists in the North of England.


The final was held at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus. The prizes were presented by Chris Parsons (2014 Regional and Grand Final winner) and Nick Smith, the Show Director for the Harrogate Flower Shows, our major regional sponsor.


Sian was competing against seven of the best young horticulturists from across the CIH Northern Region, with 120 students and employees having taken part from six different colleges and organisations in the initial heat round of the competition in January and February, and she will now go on to the Grand Final at the National Trust’s Barrington Court in Somerset on May 9th to compete against the seven other Regional winners from across Britain and Ireland for the coveted Percy Thrower Trust £2500 Travel Bursary and a chance to travel anywhere in the world to study horticulture.


Our Regional Final contestants, in place order, were:


1st  – Sian Nichol from Northumberland College ( )

2nd – Ben Preston from York (open heat winner)

3rd – Robert Pendrick from Alnwick Gardens ( )

4th – Lewis Larmouth from Northumberland College( )

5th – Simon Grimwood from Alnwick Gardens ( )

6th – Tomas Pearson from East Durham College ( )

7th – Daniel Green from Askham Bryan College ( )

8th – Thomas Elliott from Shipley College ( )



The competition, both regionally and nationally could not run without the generous support of a wide range of sponsors. These include:


Percy Thrower Trust – national sponsors of the Grand Final and travel bursary

Horticultural Development Company ( ) – national sponsors

MorePeople (  – national sponsors

Wyevale Garden Centres ( ) – national sponsors

Bulldog Tools (  – national sponsors

CIH Northern Branch Regional competition sponsors – North of England Horticultural Society (NEHS) – ( and Stockbridge Technology Centre ( )



Editors notes:


The competition

  • The 2015 competition has been open to any horticulturist who is below the age of 30 on 31 July 2015.
  • The competition is run in three phases: local heats and open heats for those not able to get to local and regional colleges, followed by eight Regional Finals and the Grand Final.


  • The competition is organised by the Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH) through an organising action group.


  • Local heats are based on multiple choice questions on a wide range of horticultural topics, through an MS PowerPoint presentation. The heats are organised by eight CIH Regional Organisers and take place at colleges, garden centres and anywhere else where competitors may gather. To take part in the 2016 competition, contact the Administration Team on 01992 707025 or email


  • Heat winners go forward to one of eight Regional Finals, usually run in March and April, in which a Question Master asks a wide range of horticultural questions, some on a buzzer, some directed to individual contestants, with three identification rounds to further test the contestants.


  • The winner of each Regional Final then goes forward to the CIH YHoY Grand Final, which this year is on May 9th at Barrington Court, Somerset. The format is the same as for the Regional Finals and the questions are drawn from all sectors of horticulture.


  • The overall winner collects the Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, worth £2,500, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society. This funds a horticultural tour anywhere in the world.  Previous YHoY winners have visited China, Borneo, New Zealand, the Himalayas, the United States, South America and various parts of Europe.


  • There are plenty of prizes at Regional Final and local heat level as well.


The CIH is interested to hear from companies who would be willing to offer financial or other sponsorship at all levels of the competition for 2016 and beyond. Please contact the Administration Team on 01992 707025 or email


Media enquiries:

Chris Bentley

Chartered Institute of Horticulture

Capel Manor College

Bullsmoor Lane




Tel: 01992 707025

Email: –

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