The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has suffered significant losses due to the impact of coronavirus. As a result, the charity has decided to cancel some of its shows next year.
The RHS expects losses this year of up to £18m and the charity has had to look closely at its finances in order to safeguard its future. This will mean stopping some areas of work that require substantial RHS investment in order to operate.
Therefore, its flower shows in Cardiff and Chatsworth will be cancelled in 2021. The RHS has consulted all partners and stakeholders, and says it is very sorry for the disappointment this will cause its loyal members, visitors and everyone involved with the shows.
In addition, The London Spring Show in April 2021 will move to RHS Garden Hyde Hall, where it will be enjoyed by more visitors and the RHS hopes to move the London Botanical Art & Photography Show, also in April, to another venue in London.
Sue Biggs, RHS director general says: “With record online visits to our gardening advice pages and more people using our membership advice service than ever before, the RHS is finding alternative ways to achieve its core charitable remit to help people across the whole of the UK to garden and grow plants. However, cancelling Chelsea and Hampton and closing our gardens has had a significant impact on our finances and we must protect the RHS, a charity of national importance, to ensure we can survive and thrive in the future.
“Chatsworth and Cardiff were wonderful shows that have been a key part of our charitable remit to promote gardening, but as they attract less visitor numbers than Tatton and Hampton and are a significant cost to put on, it is with great sadness we cannot afford to continue to run them in these times. We need to mitigate our financial liabilities wherever possible, whilst trying our hardest to work in the fairest way with all stakeholders, including our partners at Chatsworth House and Cardiff Council, and we will of course continue to support the industry.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed working with our partners and everyone at both shows and thank everyone and all members and visitors over the years for making them as wonderful as they were.
“This is the hardest but most responsible decision we can make; we owe it to our members, donors, sponsors and all our supporters to spend our funds wisely and do the best we can to serve the nation’s gardeners. These are difficult times for everyone.
“With RHS Garden Bridgewater and the Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning at Wisley opening next year, lots of exciting plans at our other gardens and wonderful content planned for our continuing 2021 shows there is so much to look forward to.”
All other RHS Shows, including RHS Chelsea Flower Show, RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival and RHS Flower Show Tatton Park are planned to continue in 2021. The RHS is planning for all scenarios to open the events safely.
The RHS is looking at other ways and opportunities to support the industry, growers, community groups and members who have been involved in the Cardiff and Chatsworth Shows.