A new community garden for a Queensland complex

For many residents of Churches of Christ Housing Services in Queensland, gardening plays a significant role in their lives, whether creating award-winning landscapes in their own private spaces or working together to nurture thriving community gardens.

Specifically, residents at Churches of Christ Housing Services’ Bruce Street (Redbank Plains) complex have long-waited for a community garden space where they could come together and hold barbeques and celebrations. As one resident, Joan Day, recalls, this was a dream of past Bruce Street resident Barry Brough, which he planned out back in 2011.

“Sadly, he [Barry] passed away before any real progress was made,” says Joan. “But he planted the idea of a community garden in the resident’s hearts.”

With a revitalised design, supportive funding and access to a team of workers, things have developed quickly over the last six months, and the garden has now become a reality. Local specialist provider of youth employment initiatives, Marist180, was engaged to help create the garden space. With a reputation for innovative program development and service delivery, Marist180 supports young people to discover their strengths and goals, and prepare for work in the real world, while also connecting them to employment and training pathways.

Churches of Christ Housing Service staff, Community Chaplain Lynne Feldon, together with Marist180, applied for the Building our Future traineeship through the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative. This allowed 15 young people to complete their traineeship while creating a beautiful space for Bruce Street residents.

As on-site supervisor Tim Dart explains, “Our program gives these young men and women an opportunity to gain work and life skills. We have all enjoyed the process of creating something that the Bruce Street residents can enjoy. As an organisation, our hope is that these young men and women will be able to use the skills they have gained through this project in their future employment opportunities.”

“It’s been heart-warming to witness how this area has changed from a wasteland into the beautiful space that it is today,” adds Lynne Feldon. “We have welcomed these young local men into our complex and watched as they have transformed the area. It’s a wonderful transformation and we are very grateful – great example of community coming together to help each other.”

The young men and women worked at Bruce Street for approximately 16 weeks, completing the garden area in late-June 2018. In addition to this garden, they built a new shed and a range of outdoor furniture for the residents to use as they see fit.

A recent barbeque was held by the residents to show appreciation and thank the Marist180 staff and team for a job well done.