In just three weeks our wonderful Community Greening program has picked up a hat trick of awards for its world-class horticultural outreach program. Parks and Leisure Australia
; The Australian Institute of Horticulture
and Keep Australia Beautiful
have all recognised the outstanding program for the way it proactively provides garden-based learning for social housing communities and at-risk youth across the state.
On 25 October Community Greening won a national award from Parks & Leisure for best community program; on Saturday 28 October Community Greening collected a national merit award from the Austalia Institute of Horticulture and on Tuesday 14 November, Keep Australia Beautiful NSW recognised the program for making NSW a more vibrant and attractive place to live.
For 18 years the horticultural outreach program has strived to promote social cohesion and help communities tackle adversity through the joy of gardening – all while creating future advocates for the environment.
Community Greening Coordinator Philip Pettitt said the awards mean a lot to those who volunteer in the gardens and stressed that awards help to ensure continued funding for the program.
“So many people help to support this program. Individuals, local churches, NGO’s in the area. We get great support from the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS)Bloomberg and the John T Reid Charitable Trusts. Their monetary contribution allows our teams to mentor people in the garden, provide advice and help get the gardens established in the first place.
“In kind donations also help, like those from Alpine Nurseries, Eden Gardens, Northcote Pottery, Oasis Horticulture and Yates Garden Company because they give us practical contributions like seeds, plants, pots and soil.”
But Phil says it is important for Australians to realise that Community Greening is about ‘way more’ than just gardening. “The biggest thing is the way it brings social cohesion to communities. Watching something grow day-by-day is really beneficial for people with depression or mental illness and for elderly people – just having a meeting space to go to see friends or have a cup of tea means everything.
“The gardens bring people together and provide an informal way of keeping an eye your neighbours. So if something happens or someone is sick and they don’t come to the garden - there is a lot more chance fellow gardeners will notice and be in a position to help,” Pettitt says.
Since its inception in 2000, Community Greening has reached more than 100,000 participants including adults and children. The program continues to be awarded for its contribution to the establishment and growth of more than 340 community gardens and 287 youth-led gardens from ‘Blacktown to Bourke’.
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