Community garden's appeal for new faces to help with future vision

Grapes Hill Community Garden
Alice Marples and Tony Palmer who rent a raised bed
Byline: Sonya Dunca

Grapes Hill Community Garden Alice Marples and Tony Palmer who rent a raised bed - Credit: Sonya Duncan

For more than a decade, it has provided a haven for mental and physical health for residents and organisations across the city.   

Now the green-fingered group behind Grapes Hill Community Garden in Norwich is hoping to enlist more volunteers as well as spread the word about the project. 

Grapes Hill Community Garden
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Credit: Sonya Duncan

What began 13 years ago has become a labour of love for the Grapes Hill Community Garden Group (GHCGG) and the once derelict and disused former tarmacked play area has been transformed into a thriving garden. 

The group is now looking towards the future and, after being awarded National Lottery Funding, is aiming high with its latest ambitions. 

Grapes Hill Community Garden
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The GHCGG is on the lookout for a dedicated volunteer coordinator and integration officer to help raise awareness of garden and spread word of it into local communities. 


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The part-time vacancy, funded by the National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, will run until October 2022 and would see the successful candidate help, observe and gather data at workshops and events, as well as consider and discuss ideas for developing and improving the volunteer and family programmes.

They would also network with local community groups and refugee and migrant groups in Norwich. 

Grapes Hill Community Garden
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Credit: Sonya Duncan

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A spokesperson for the group said: “A registered charity, GHCGG is proud of what is has achieved within the 50m by 12m area and last year it was boosted by a National Lottery Reaching Communities grant to help raise awareness of gardening for community well-being and to build better intracommunity relations. 

“During what has been a tough year for everyone, the garden has been mostly open for all to enjoy some fresh air and nature in the city, helped largely by the volunteer gate-key holders who open and close the gates each day. 

Grapes Hill Community Garden
Volunteer coordinator Rosie Almond
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden Volunteer coordinator Rosie Almond - Credit: Sonya Duncan

“Like so many other charities and groups across the county, funds are limited, so while the group has been able to successfully self-generate funds by selling plants and refreshments at events, Covid restrictions had a dramatic impact on the group’s main source of income.  

“But due to the funding, and the impending recruitment of an integration officer, the future is looking bright.” 

Grapes Hill Community Garden
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Credit: Sonya Duncan

In 2020, with social distancing in place, the group was able to hold volunteer sessions, events and working groups.  

Events included Nature in the Garden, featuring a display from Norfolk Wild Encounters Hawk and Owl, The Papillon Project, Hodmedod’s Hedgehog Support and Acle Crafts. Local artists also displayed their work during Nature Art in the Garden, and workshops such as songwriting, yoga, growing and harvesting herbal teas, and a propagation took place.  

Grapes Hill Community GardenAlice Marples and Tony Palmer who rent a raised bedByline: Sonya Dunca

Grapes Hill Community Garden Alice Marples and Tony Palmer who rent a raised bed - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The garden also hosted community engagement activities including the formation of a new raised bed tenants’ group. The group also worked with GoodGym Norwich, Norwich YMCA, Action for Children Group and the BUILD Group. 

To help achieve its ongoing goals, the GHCGG is also looking for new trustees. An ideal fit would be an experienced trustee to take on registered charity compliance and governance, such as reviewing and updating policies. 

Grapes Hill Community Garden
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Credit: Sonya Duncan

They added: “Our three-year Reaching Communities project has had the desired outcome of increased volunteer participation and enhanced community integration.  

“During the first lockdown, we were unable to promote the community garden as a meeting place for a diverse mix of local people, to grow food, learn skills and look after a community space, but we could still promote the joy of growing your own to our urban community by sharing horticultural skills online, distributing equipment and developing self-reliance through social networks.  

Grapes Hill Community GardenAlice Marples and Tony Palmer who rent a raised bedByline: Sonya Dunca

Grapes Hill Community Garden Alice Marples and Tony Palmer who rent a raised bed - Credit: Sonya Duncan

“We aim for full inclusivity to reduce any sense of isolation and lack of opportunity within our community.” 

As well as the local community, the garden has also been supported by business sponsors and offers of tree sponsorships. 

Grapes Hill Community GardenByline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Credit: Sonya Duncan

  • To find out more about Grapes Hill Community Garden, offer business sponsorship or sponsor a tree, visit the website at www.grapeshillcommunitygarden/org

  • If you are interested in the part-time role or becoming a trustee then you can send a CV and apply to contact@grapeshillcommunitygarden.org. More information about the roles can also be found via the website

Grapes Hill Community GardenByline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Credit: Sonya Duncan


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