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Ask a busy person….

There is an adage that you should ask a busy person if you want help. And Clare Hill is certainly such a person.

Clare, who recently started volunteering in the grounds of Westbury Arts Centre, has a professional background in the commercial horticultural industry, and was happy to share some her expertise as a volunteer. She has been involved in a number of essential projects for the grounds, such as pruning trees and shrubs, removing the overgrown ivy off the Westbury barn and removing self-sown tree seedlings. Clare says: “From a mental health point of view, being in the garden is very relaxing and it’s a great opportunity to enjoy the cycles of nature.” She advises that garden volunteers do need to be happy to be outdoors in a variety of weather conditions and be able to distinguish weeds from garden plants.

Clare Hill is also a regular at Westbury Arts Centre Art Club. This gives participants the opportunity to develop their own creative practice, without direct tutoring. Clare says of it: “It’s a bit of a laugh, there’s no pressure, you can choose what you want to do in terms of medium and subject. Everyone is doing something different – so it opens your eyes to possibilities. You also meet new people who are united by common interest. Coming to Westbury also gives you the time and space to do art, which you would not find at home.”

Clare has always been interested in art, and she took as an evening City and Guilds course in drawing and painting some 20 years ago while she was working.

Clare has made a lifelong contribution as a volunteer as well as working full-time. For 37 years she has volunteered at the Milton Keynes University Hospital with the Friends of Milton Keynes Hospital & Community in the MK Friends Shop as well as taking the morning shop trolley around the wards. As a horticulturist she has also helped in a number of the gardens around the hospital.

Westbury Arts Centre is looking for new volunteers to help in its gardens. If you are interested then please email

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