Evolve Housing (Evolve) residents in Hebersham are going green and building their own community garden as part of Evolve’s greening initiative in partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Community Greening program.
Andrea Galloway, CEO Evolve Housing, says that the community gardens are a fantastic initiative for residents to develop new skills in gardening, grow their own food and learn more about sustainable living.
“Evolve Housing’s partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Community Greening program has been very effective in encouraging residents to work together and engage with nature, and is also an easy way for residents to improve their own health and wellbeing right in their own backyard,” said Ms Galloway.
The program is a community building initiative that encourages residents to develop problem solving skills and build social cohesion. At Hebersham all residents in Evolve’s Dumul Place complex are over the age of 55. As the risk of social isolation in older aged residents grows, it is vital for Evolve to provide opportunities such as this community garden program for residents to have meaningful interactions with their neighbours and to develop new skills.
On top of the health benefits of physical activity and providing access to fresh food, the garden is a way for residents to learn about living sustainably including waste minimization, recycling as well as creating a safe open space where residents are involved in shared decision making and increasing their sense of belonging.
“We know that being outdoors, whether that be gardening or just being with nature, is good for us but we have never had the data with community gardens to support this. With the Herbesham garden we are also launching a new research project with the Western Sydney University to survey the community involved to see how it improves their sense of wellbeing and sense of community,” said Phil Pettitt, Community Greening Coordinator, Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands.
This data is really important as it will ensure our program and partnerships with Social housing providers like Evolve continue with more gardening activities for the benefit of those that need it most.”
Evolve Housing currently has four community garden programs running with two more in the works. Evolve Housing is a leading community housing provider that owns or manages more than 3,000 social and affordable housing properties, with the majority located in Western Sydney.
Evolve Housing works to deliver suitable and accessible housing in areas where there is high need, such as for people with a disability sector and people needing safe, secure and affordable housing.