A GRANT awarded under the RACT Community Fund program has given a community garden project in Chigwell a welcome boost to help with its ongoing operation.
The community garden is an unfunded venture by Bucaan Community House Inc that supports the community and provides an opportunity for people to come together in a social space.
RACT community manager Will Oakely said the funds would be used to make a positive impact on the community and help continue to run the gardening project.
“The funding will contribute to seeds, mulch and gardening equipment, so it increases the number of people that can be involved as well as the output of the project,” he said.
Mr Oakley said RACT was pleased to offer its support to community organisations like Bucaan Community House.
“We focus on non-profit clubs and associations that rely on volunteers and run off the smell of an oily rag,” he said.
“When we came on site, we saw how many people this community garden engaged across various demographics and the healthy eating options it created.
“The work of the Bucaan Community House in supporting the garden initiative is the perfect example of the type of projects the fund was established to support.”
The garden has been running for about 10 years and has on average 18 people attend every week to help tend to the produce.
Volunteer Kim Larter said the project brought together people from all walks of life.
“We can have a talk or joke, do some gardening and composting and share a meal – it gives people who might otherwise be a little bit marginalised the opportunity to join in,” she said.
“You can see we’re putting in what we get out of it, and the produce can go to Bucaan Community House to help with meals that other people in the community need – I really like the idea that it’s very community-minded.”
Bucaan Community House executive officer Mary-anne Evans said the garden acted as the broader community’s source for fresh produce.
“We don’t have any shops in the local community that sell fresh fruit and veggies and the closest one is Claremont Village, so if you don’t have transport, getting fresh produce for the evening meal is quite difficult,” she said.
“We have an open gate, pick your own policy at the garden.
“This allows the wider community to have healthy food options available to them.
“It also improves health outcomes, gardening skills and health knowledge of community members.”
Ms Evans said Bucaan Community House offered a number of programs that helped support the community.
“We have everything from a motorbike course to a learn-to-drive course, craft groups, meals and transport, plus a lot more activities and programs,” she said.
“A lot of the time people feel socially isolated in the community.
“Bases, such as us, offer a place for people to come and meet new people, form friendships and feel comfortable socialising, and we know how good that is for people’s mental health.”
The RACT Community Fund offers small grants of up to $2000, twice a year, to non-profit community groups and assosiations to assist with local community-building projects.
The RACT has assisted more than 200 Tasmanian groups with grants through the RACT Community Fund.
Applications for the next round of funding will open in October.
Caption: From left, RACT community manager Will Oakley, volunteer David Farrell and Bucaan Community House executive officer Mary-anne Evans welcome the funding boost for the Chigwell community garden.