News • 06 Dec 2023

Community garden brings joy to Redcliffe transitional housing tenants

Redcliffe clients and Open Minds staff together at the reopening of their community garden

Open Minds Redcliffe transitional housing property tenants have reinvigorated their community garden building practical and social skills.

The Open Minds Redcliffe team applied for and won a grant for nearly $7,000 to enable the tenants to reinvigorate what was previously a very small garden into a more substantial one.

The newly revamped garden now features multiple large garden beds, tyre beds, greenhouse, worm farm, compost system, and drought-friendly watering system.

The tenants are now able to grow a variety of produce including lettuce, watermelons, spring onions, and more.

Staff and tenants worked together to transform the outdoor area from an unused space with overgrown hedges into an area that could be used by tenants to grow their own fruit and vegetables and to form social connections.

Open Minds Chief Executive Officer, Kate Johnson attended the opening of the revamped garden and could see the positive impact that building the garden has already had on the tenants.

“Our clients have learnt new skills in building this garden, gaining confidence and achieving sense of accomplishment,” Kate said.

“It’s been great to talk to the tenants and hear their sense of pride about what they’ve contributed so far.”

Jo-Ann is a tenant at the property who said that she was looking forward to eating the vegetables grown in the garden, especially with the rising cost of vegetables in the supermarkets.

“Food is becoming so expensive now. I can’t believe the cost. It’s a good thing that we’ll be able to save some money using ingredients we’ve grown here in the garden,” said Jo-Ann.

“Also, there are days when I get lonely, and this is going to give me something to do. I requested that we grow potatoes, as well as chives, as I like to have these on my wedges with sour cream.”

Tenants Jo-Ann, Zoran, and Shaun enjoying the grand opening BBQ in the community garden on 27 November 2023.

Tenants Jo-Ann, Zoran, and Shaun enjoying the grand opening BBQ in the community garden on 27 November 2023.

Open Minds Care Leader, Tricia Brown has been the driving force behind setting up the garden which has been many years in the making.

“There are so many benefits of having a community garden – from the practical skills of how to plant and grow produce to mental health benefits of collaborating and engaging with each other,” said Tricia. “Having responsibility to nurture the produce from seedlings to fully grown vegetables provides our tenants with purpose.

“We have a watering roster to encourage tenants to continue their involvement and all contribute to the garden,” she said.

The transitional housing complex is owned by Bric Housing, and Open Minds delivers services in partnership with the affordable housing provider.

The aim of the partnership is to support people with mental health issues who are experiencing housing distress.

Bric Housing Tenant Services Officer, Teresa Bargo attended the opening of the garden, noting the garden was exactly what the community needed.

“Bric Housing was all too happy to approve the plans for the garden when Tricia first came to us with her proposal,” said Teresa.

“The tenants can see the work paying off as they grow these vegetables. There’s the social aspect too, some people don’t have a lot of confidence with other people and the garden gives them a reason to work with others.”

Find out about Open Minds services or get in touch with our team today.

The community garden was made possible with funding support from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

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