The RHS is growing

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has more than trebled the number of staff that the charity pays a six figure salary to, says Matt Appleby.

RHS Wisley
The RHS is entering a period of huge investment.
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The RHS annual report for the year-end to 31st January 2016 reveals some interesting facts and figures. During this period, there were seven RHS staff paid more than £100,000, against just two in 2015. The highest paid, the Director General Sue Biggs, earned £190,000-£200,000, up from £170,000-£180,000 last year.

In contrast, Prime Minister David Cameron is reported to earn £142,500, while National Trust director general Dame Helen Ghosh, earned £183,960 according to the latest figures. The National Trust has 4.2 million members, while the RHS has a tenth as many, 448,977.

RHS staff numbers rose from 614 to 643 full time and 184 to 207 part-time. Staff costs rose to £25.36m from £22.75m.

The new RHS 2015/16 annual report shows RHS membership rose 20,000 to 448,977, while its income was up 4.7 per cent to £76.5m. Expenditure was up 8.3 per cent to £71.1m.

Sue Biggs said this was “one of the most exciting periods in the society’s 212 year history” because of the £160m Strategic Investment Programme (SIP). She highlighted the fifth RHS garden at Bridgewater, near Manchester, due to open in 2019 and being master-planned by Tom Stuart-Smith, as well as Christopher Bradley-Hole Landscaping, a new retail front of house building designed by Carmody Groarke and a science building at Wisley.

The RHS said: “We are pleased that income has increased due to greater investment into our work and through having a larger and more commercially savvy and experienced senior management who, with their teams, have delivered exceptional results.

“Since the formation of the Leadership Team, the net surplus has risen steadily from £3.1m in 2008/9 up to £9.3m in 2013/14 and £7.4m in 2014/15, and £5.3m in 2015/16. This lower number reflects the increasing investment we have previously announced including Horticulture Matters, which has increased the number of apprentices and the pay we have given to all of our horticulturally qualified professionals, and we also have more staff to deliver this major investment programme.

“The RHS receives no government funding and we therefore need to invest in our commercial work to be able to raise the necessary funds to support our vast charitable work and enable our major £160 million investment in the future of horticulture, enabling us to do even more to enrich lives and improve local environments across the UK.”

Matt Appleby

About Matt Appleby

Matt is a former teacher turned journalist. He took up writing while in New Zealand and trained as a journalist there. He has since written five books (three on cricket and two on gardening) with The Children's Garden due out in spring 2016 published by Frances Lincoln. He writes for Horticulture Week and other publications. Married with two boys, aged 3 and 6 he lives in London.
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