Your support goes a long way

“When you give to Westonbirt, however you choose to do that, you become part of the arboretum’s community of supporters and your money helps to underpin this special place.

“Last year alone, our community of supporters gave the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum charity £1,636,311. That income directly funds essential grassroots projects, key staff positions and capital developments at the National Arboretum.

“The ongoing success of the Westonbirt Project exemplifies our commitment to meet the changing needs of the tree collection and its growing number of visitors. This is only possible with your help. Thank you.”

Stephen Segar, Chair of Trustees

Your support makes an enormous difference to work at Westonbirt.

Staff at Westonbirt Arboretum describe some of the key areas where the Friends’ income has been spent across their various departments.

Friends support the Westonbirt Project
“The Friends provided £886,000 in the shape of donations and grants from organisations and generous individuals. This 2012 income is being spent on Phase One of the project which includes the new car park, the welcome building and the Downs restoration. It represents a huge endorsement of our vision for the National Arboretum.

“The Friends’ support has meant that Westonbirt is considered alongside the likes of Kew and RHS Wisley – people can see that we are well-managed and can put their trust in the project.”

Sophie Nash, Project Officer

Friends fund the Tree Team’s student
“Having a student placed in the Tree Team each year means an extra pair of hands on deck. We teach them our ‘best Westonbirt practice’ and they in turn bring something to the team... a freshness and new friendships. They also come with the latest thinking, straight from college, which keeps us up to date too.”

Rich Townsend,
Tree Team Supervisor

Friends support Learning and Participation
“Other than salaries, 95% of our expenditure (£80,000) comes from the Friends. That covers seasonal guides, trails, interpretation panels, all volunteering activities, most of the family events and wider play, the lime sculpture, and on and on! Without the Friends’ support there would be very little learning activity in the broadest sense at Westonbirt – the Friends are absolutely vital to learning.”

Ben Oliver, Learning and Participation Manager

Friends fund ALL volunteering at Westonbirt
“In 2012, the volunteering budget of £17,500 supported 22,000 volunteer hours. Volunteers work across the arboretum and make a huge contribution to helping visitors enjoy a rewarding day out. Volunteers support staff and visitors in learning, fundraising, research, propagation, tree team support, botany and phenology, running the information desk and leading walks... Volunteers enable Westonbirt to do so much more.”

Cheryl Pearson, Volunteer Coordinator

Friends support Marketing and Communications
“Essentially the Friends’ grant of £10,000 ensured that, when we lost one fulltime role to the government cuts, we were still able to concentrate on the really creative and interesting things to engage our visitors with the arboretum. Our knowledge of the people and the place means that our time is better spent because we can buy in media support.”

Gina Mills, Marketing and Communications Manager

Friends support Events
“Without the Friends’ extra money, a lot of the free entertainment for children and adults wouldn’t be possible – it’s not spent on litter or marquees. Treefest is expensive to put on and the basic services swallow up the budget. The Friends help make it a more enjoyable festival – that extra £7,000 last year bought in the much-loved falconry, the new steam engine which was extremely popular, the puppet theatre and story telling, the Medieval Village and the heavy horses.”

Julie McKellar, Event Coordinator

Friends pay for vital visitor services
“Without that sum of £27,000, we wouldn’t have been able to maintain the scooters and wheelchairs and let our visitors borrow them for free. In fact, over the years the Friends have bought all those scooters. That grant is also spent on dog provision (dog bags alone cost £2,500 each year!), play area maintenance, recycling and cleaning, furniture and radios.”
Leigh Jane, Visitor Services Coordinator

Friends support the tree collection
“We wouldn’t be able to achieve our strategic objectives without the Friends’ financial support. Hopefully people come here and see a beautifully presented tree collection and picturesque landscape but behind the scenes the Tree Team are working away like the legs of a swan – and their endeavours need financing.

“One small example; to plant the 300 trees we do each year, we need stakes, caging, ties, labels, planting equipment, a trailer and a mule. The Friends’ money is the oil that keeps us running. In turn, the Tree Team spend every pound wisely – it has to go a long way – and we report quarterly to let the Friends know how we are spending your money.”

Mark Ballard, Curator

Friends built Phase One of the propagation unit
“The new propagation area is incredibly efficient and well organised and I take pride in keeping it tidy – it’s kept swept, weed-free and the plants are easily watered. Quite an important issue, in terms of growing the strongest and healthiest plants, is that they are now properly spaced. It’s also freed up so much of my time that I can focus more on planning and developing propagation techniques. It’s a pleasure to work in!”

Penny Jones, Propagator


If you would like to know more, please view our most recent set of accounts for a breakdown of how our money has been allocated to help the arboretum.