Business partner: Greenfingers and the Garden Centre Group

The charity hopes to raise its profile by holding question-and-answer sessions at garden centres

For smaller charities, corporate partnerships can represent a priceless opportunity to make a step change in stature and income.

Greenfingers was launched in 1998 by gardening writer and broadcaster Richard Jackson. Helped by volunteers, it has created 29 gardens at children's hospices in the UK. But the charity's income has remained modest - it raised £169,000 last year - and public recognition of its name is low.

That could change with its selection as charity of the year by the Garden Centre Group. The group owns 120 garden centres and hosts several businesses, including the florist Blooms and retailers Nursery and Garden World.

According to Helen North, joint chief executive of Greenfingers, the partnership will be pivotal to the charity's long-term success. It has previously concentrated on holding fundraising events, such as Greenfingers Week and raffles at independent garden centres.

"We can now roll these events out at a much wider level through the Garden Centre Group," says North. "These things take a lot of time and money to set up. In order to make them really work well, we need to do more of them."

North hopes the year's fundraising events, which will also include question-and-answer sessions at garden centres, will raise its profile.

"We are a very well-known charity in the gardening world, but the wider public don't really know who we are," she says. "This partnership gives us an opportunity to introduce ourselves."

The Garden Centre Group, which has previously adopted Breast Cancer Care as its charity of the year, was attracted to working with a gardening charity. "It's important to us to stick with our gardening roots," says Natalie Moulden, marketing events manager.

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