Seed to deliver free wellbeing programs

Seed Lakeside Community Garden in Sale opened in January, and has had a fantastic response from the community throughout the pandemic, with numbers increasing at the garden’s monthly working bees and seedling sales. Pictured, Sonya Young, Cathy Trembath and Melissa Edwards tend to some rhubarb. Photo: Contributed

SEED Lakeside Community Garden in Sale will receive federal funding for a new project that will provide free health and wellbeing-focussed programs to the community.

The garden’s Activation and Pathways project will partner with health organisations to deliver accessible intervention and prevention focus activities.

The activities will focus on improving social and emotional health, and building resilience.

The grant is part of the federal government’s funding of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s rolling Tackling Tough Times Together grants program.

The garden’s creator and mental health nurse, Shae Wilson, welcomed the grant, saying it would enable the garden to involve more local people during these challenging times.

“Seed Community Garden aims to complement health services by fostering informal mental health support,” she said.

“The benefit of delivering such activities in a garden setting include spending time outdoors and in nature, increased physical activity, and improved social support and connection.

“Although this is not a replacement for secondary and tertiary (clinical) health services, informal supports are important for early intervention, prevention and recovery.”

Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said the garden provided local residents with an inclusive space for community engagement and to learn new skills.

“The garden is an excellent project that welcomes all members of the community to engage in worthwhile projects and learn new skills and improve health and wellbeing,” he said.

Ms Wilson added more broadly, community gardens provided the perfect space for relationship building and experiences that fostered a sense of “belonging, community, self-confidence and hope”.

“Early intervention and primary prevention are vital, given the high rates of mental health issues and people experiencing social isolation in the Wellington Shire community,” she said.

“A range of mental health services are available, however there are few opportunities to access nonclinical support.”

Seed Community Garden opened in January, and has had a fantastic response from the local community, according to its committee. Photo: John Morgan

Ms Wilson said the garden, which opened in January, has had a fantastic response from the
community throughout the pandemic.

“The numbers at our monthly working bee are increasing,” she said.
“We are always seeing new people and our membership numbers are steadily growing,  which is an indication that people are wanting to get involved.

“Our spring seedling sales have been a huge hit, with the community taking well to the online payment and honesty box system.”

Ms Wilson said plans for the remainder of the year included using the grant to build on community engagement through the garden’s workshops, and having community events that involved lighting up the garden’s popular pizza oven.

“Now, more than ever, people are looking for opportunities to get involved and be active.

“The bonus is that they can also learn a new skill, develop friendships and improve their health,” she said.

The garden will continue to run its seedling sales throughout the year, and those keen to be involved should go along to the monthly working bee on the first Saturday of the month from 9.30am.

The committee says the day is a great way to meet members, check out the space and look at ways to become involved.
For more information, email or click here for more information or to apply for a Tackling Tough Times Together grant.