Ageing, Disability & Home Care

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Funding saves Secret Garden

9 March 2012

The NSW Government has stepped in to keep a community garden and nursery open at Richmond.

Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, today announced funding of $30,000 to assist in maintaining the operation and management of the Secret Garden and Nursery.

“More than 60 people with a medium to high-need intellectual disability and mental illness take part in a Food For Thought Program at the Secret Garden and Nursery every week,” Mr Constance said.

“The Food For Thought Program is a stimulating and educational workplace experience program that provides recreational and vocational respite for individuals with a disability.”

“It also offers educational training for the whole community in the areas of horticulture, permaculture, animal husbandry and fruit and vegetable production.”

Member for Londonderry Bart Bassett said the extra funding is a big win for the local community.

“Up till now, the garden has operated on community donations and the proceeds of the sale of plants it produces,” Mr Bassett said.

“This funding boost is great news for the local community, especially for people with a disability who’ll be able to continue to take part in the Food For Thought Program.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Western Sydney, and Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams said the not-for-profit Secret Garden and Nursery has operated for more than 18 years on five hectares of land on the Hawkesbury Campus of the University of Western Sydney.

“It is known for being one of the best-stocked nurseries in the Hawkesbury area, with hundreds of plant species, including many rare and native species, which are purchased by garden enthusiasts,” Mr Williams said.

“The garden promotes community involvement in the growing and marketing of bush tucker and other foods, with locals encouraged to grow their own herbal or veggie patch on-site.”

The garden also hosts children’s birthday parties, weddings and special events and won ‘Best Community Organisation of the Year’ at the 2010 Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards.

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