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.
In most financial years FGAS raises around £30,000 from events, sponsorship and membership subscriptions. In the period to autumn 2019 we raised a record-breaking £45,000 to help young people based in three centres, Kennington and Poplar in London and Chatham in Kent, towards realising their potential.
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.