The National Botanic Garden of Wales is to receive £800,000 of taxpayers’ cash after a report found that it could only continue to function with an injection of public money.

The Welsh botanic has secured public funds

After an independent review, the Welsh Assembly stumped up £700,000 for the next year. It also provided an extra £100,000 to maintain and improve facilities.

The Welsh Botanic almost shut in 2004 due to a funding crisis but a five-year deal with the Welsh Assembly secured its future. In 2008, it provided the garden with a £1.65millon grant to run over three years.

“It is only 10 years old but the garden is making a vital contribution to tourism, science, education, and the regional economy of south west Wales,” said heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones.

“This level of funding, as recommended by the recent review, will help the gardens to develop as a scientific centre of excellence, a showcase for sustainability and as a visitor attraction,” he added.

As part of the deal, the Welsh botanic must meet financial and maintenance targets.

Garden director Dr Rosie Plummer said: “Our cutting-edge research is increasing our world-wide profile in science.

“The garden contributes £8million annually to the economy of south west Wales and, with 100 staff, is an important employer.”

The review concluded that all botanic gardens need subsidy. The Welsh botanic generates nearly two-thirds of its own income. Directors say this is a higher proportion than Kew and the Edinburgh botanic. Find out more at www.gardenofwales.org.uk

Have you visited the Welsh botanic – and should taxpayers’ cash be used to support it through tough times? Leave your comments below.