Friendship stories

Volunteers take pride in making their community look beautiful

Sarah’s friendship story

Sarah Moulson (second from left) is Chairwoman of Britain in Bloom group, Norton in Hales. Community gardening has been bringing people together in this West Midlands village for many years.

As Chairwoman of our small voluntary group, I have seen my role to be one of encouragement, enthusiasm, support and leadership.

“I want residents to feel that whatever their skill set, or horticultural experience, this should not preclude them from the joy of taking pride in looking after and tending to the floral displays around the village.”

People have helped towards applying for grant funding, building raised beds, compost bays and sponsorship. Residents have assisted with fundraising through events such as plant sales, plant swaps, Easter egg hunts for the children, duck races on the River Tern and most recently the designing and construction of a fabulous bird hide, which enabled everyone, old and young alike, to watch nature undetected.

Our work parties are well attended, and these always finish with cake, coffee and chat. No one ever works alone; in groups of three or more, people tend their areas of responsibility and then move around joining others who need help.

A beautiful floral display outside the village church in Norton in Hales

Norton in Hales took home Gold in the Heart of England competition in 2023

“I was daunted by the prospect of taking on this role; Norton has a long and illustrious history with Britain in Bloom, but I have made friends for life. I would encourage people to dip their toe in the water and join a gardening group as it is extremely rewarding.”

Gardeners tend to be positive people, as they are always thinking of the season or year ahead, planning for the future. Gardening groups are life affirming with a strong desire to make a difference through shared efforts and friendship.

Norton in Hales was awarded gold and category winner at the RHS Heart of England in Bloom awards in 2023. Find out more about this Britain in Bloom group.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.