Unique Taree Community Garden Taking Shape

Thu Feb 3, 2016

RichmondPRA has unveiled what’s shaping to be one of the largest and most diverse community gardens the region has seen, where local people from all walks of life can engage in productive and meaningful volunteer work.

The brainchild of staff from RichmondPRA’s ‘Partners In Recovery’ arm, the idea sees the utilisation of a 500m2 parcel of vacant land adjacent to RichmondPRA’s Taree office at 80 Wynter Street.

Construction of eight beds for multiple garden types including vegetables and herbs has already commenced under a work for the dole project headed by local not-for-profit employment specialist Novaskill.

A children’s ‘sensory’ garden will also be created by pre-school staff and local Aboriginal figures are planning an indigenous bush foods garden.

A community committee overseen by RichmondPRA is being created to decide on specifics of how the garden should function, ahead of a formal launch by mid-year once construction is completed.

Produce will end up being taken away by volunteers for their own consumption and also donated to local emergency service relief providers.

Local garden and horticulture experts are already committing to providing training and advice for people wanting to work at the garden, including MIDWASTE which is planning a compost and worm farming workshop.

The garden has been made possible by the generosity of the local Stack family which owns the land and has agreed to lease it to RichmondPRA under an exceptionally favourable 12-month agreement with an option for renewal.

Many local organisations have come on board in recent weeks committing equipment and labour resources, including About Inclusion, Taree Indigenous Development & Employment (TIDE), Little Flippers Kindergarten and Folid Design and Social Media Consultants.

“It dawned on us that we had all this land around us in a location relatively close to town and we started thinking if we could somehow use it,” RichmondPRA Team Leader Chris Cassar said.

“The idea of a community garden has been played with from time to time in the community and it’s tremendous that this has taken off so comprehensively.

“We’re taking one step at a time to ensure we maximise participation opportunities from multiple sections of the community.

“The idea is that once the garden is established anyone in the community can get involved.

“This is such an effective way to promote social interaction and inclusion across all spectrums of the community.”

Greater Taree City Council Mayor, Paul Hogan, applauded the initiative.

“Everyday things like gardening or stepping out to socialise with others can make a world of difference if you are socially disadvantaged,” Mayor Hogan said.

“This is an enormous opportunity for the local community and I’m encouraging everyone who can lend support to get right behind it.”

Anyone wanting to assist with donations or otherwise wanting to be involved with the garden is asked to contact Bree Katsamangos on 0438 920 832, via Bree.Katsamangos@richmondpra.org.au or through Facebook under ‘Taree Community Garden’.

RichmondPRA is a not-for-profit organisation providing recovery focussed support programs, accommodation and hope for people with mental health issues in New South Wales and Queensland. Advocating community-based assistance, it is a leading mental health support provider that has been in operation for more than 55 years with heavy involvement across the Greater Taree, Great Lakes and Gloucester regions.

The Federally-funded Partners in Recovery initiative overseen by RichmondPRA across the local region sees local organisations working better together to ensure that people with mental health issues get the right support and opportunities at the right time.

Media Enquiries:
Matt Watson 0417 691 884
Chris Cassar 0404 572 499