Mid North Coast Community Care - UnitingCare NSW.ACT - Growing together community garden

Category: Consumer Directed Care and re-ablement

Mid North Coast Community Care - UnitingCare NSW.ACT

Growing together, what a recipe! Building community and putting unwanted vacant land to good use, involving a broad range of community members and filling the a gap for clients and the wider community. The philosophy of care espouses the key principles of safety and comfort, normality and meaning and purpose.

The Growing Together Community Garden grew from the desire to address the effects of ageism by building intergenerational capacity through a community garden. This garden fosters, nurtures and develops intergenerational experiences including children as young as 5 to 18 year olds. It connects older people to their community through the meaningful activity of gardening, enabling them to share knowledge and increase wellbeing through active participation.

Clients come along and visit the garden, not with the intention to just look, but to participate, talk, discuss, share and learn. They visit with family and friends, community members and carers experiencing a new energy and drive as they reminisce and share knowledge.

The garden is a reminder of how much life has to offer, right in the centre of town. Nambucca Community Care actively seeks opportunities to connect older people with their local communities, social networks, interest groups and activities. Priding themselves on connecting clients with intergenerational activities, Nambucca Community Care has developed partnerships with community groups and family members. The program has been developed at a local level and is providing clients with access to opportunities to participate in activities that would not easily be available to them.

Like any good garden, Growing Together Community Garden is small and slow in its initial growth, enabling all to be involved. The goal to provide and contribute to intergenerational activities is surpassing all initial expectations. As a Community project Nambucca Community Care are becoming an integral feature in the lives of clients, their friends and wider community.

Features of the garden include:

  • seating for passive enjoyment
  • sensory specific areas including aromatic plants and water features
  • dementia friendly garden paths, also accessible for those using mobility aids
  • digging plots for the active person to be able to dig the soil.
  • garden benches at a perfect height – no bending or toiling required.

Monitoring and evaluation is steered by the garden committee. This committee meets monthly and is responsible for the coordination of planting the garden, evaluating the wellness of the attendees of the garden and is a part of the continuous improvement program.

The program outcomes of information and social connectivity have provided a rich experience and opportunity for deep reflection stimulating ideas for exploration and creative processes.

For more information on the program, contact Romayne Page, email: rpage@unitingcarenswact.org.au or phone: (02) 6582 8241.