History of the Society
In 1993 Fairbridge Garden Society (FGS) was formed to raise funds for Fairbridge, a national charity which worked with young people aged 13 to 25 in 15 centres across the UK, giving them the motivation, self-confidence and skills they need to change their lives.
FGS raised funds by providing a varied and stimulating programme of events for discerning gardeners, and had close links with the Fulham Palace Garden Centre (which closed in 2014).
In April 2011 the Fairbridge charity merged with The Prince’s Trust to form one organisation able to offer young people a more joined-up package of support. As part of The Prince’s Trust, the work of the charity became their Fairbridge Programme (renamed Explore in 2020) and continues to help some of the country’s most marginalised and disadvantaged young people to overcome their barriers and move forward towards education, employment or training.
In January 2014 FGS was renamed Fairbridge Garden & Arts Society (FGAS) to better reflect the varied range of events offered to its members. All the profits from events and the membership subscriptions raised by FGAS go directly and exclusively to the Explore Programme.
FGAS’s promotion of Fulham Palace Garden Centre ended in 2014 when The Prince’s Trust decided to sell the Centre in order to invest the proceeds in a way more in keeping with the aims of the combined charities and to support more young people. The centre reopened as The Palace Gardener in March 2017, a commercial venture with no ongoing links to either charity.
In most financial years FGAS raises around £30,000 from events, sponsorship and membership subscriptions. A new south London centre co-ordinates the delivery of the FGAS Explore Programme across London with Poplar continuing to provide a central London hub.
The past two years, 2020 and 2021, have been particularly challenging for young people, many of whom have experienced real hardship, loss and a wide range of mental health problems. They need our help more than ever and we encourage you to provide your support by becoming a member and joining us in raising funds for the FGAS Explore Programme.