Home or at risk of being homeless youths worked together to build a community garden at The Nimbin Transitional Housing Units. From left, residents Kristy and Malcha, project director Heath Mayne, and resident Zac.
Home or at risk of being homeless youths worked together to build a community garden at The Nimbin Transitional Housing Units. From left, residents Kristy and Malcha, project director Heath Mayne, and resident Zac. Cathryn McLauchlan

At-risk youth work together to build a community garden

YOUTH living in a Nimbin housing complex saw the benefits of a community garden and have now installed two garden beds as part of Neighbour Day.

They also repainted the front fence at the complex, called The Nimbin Transitional Housing Units.

Neighbour Day, which runs annually in March, recognises the importance of good relationships with the people in your community.

Home or at risk of being homeless youths worked together to build a community garden at The Nimbin Transitional Housing Units. From left, residents Zac and Malcha.
Home or at risk of being homeless youths worked together to build a community garden at The Nimbin Transitional Housing Units. From left, residents Zac and Malcha. Cathryn McLauchlan

Northern Rivers Social Development Council's Connecting Home case worker, Heath Mayne, directed the gardening and painting project.

"It is my hope the garden will give the young people living there the sense of community with each other," he said.

"I hope that it will give them sense of shared ownership of the project.

"The young people living here at the moment are really house proud ... which is why I wanted to do this project so they can maintain it and be proud of it."

Bentley, 19 months, helps build the garden beds at The Nimbin Transitional Housing Units.
Bentley, 19 months, helps build the garden beds at The Nimbin Transitional Housing Units. Cathryn McLauchlan

Resident Malcha, 16, said she was keen to teach some of the other young people new recipes using herbs and veggies from the gardens.

"And making lots of pasta sauce, which will be really good," she said.

"We'll have to look after the garden together, maybe make a roster or something."

Kristy and Zac have been living at the complex for about one month.

Zac said Kristy loved her vegetables, the new garden would save them money in grocery bills and it would keep them busy.

There are four units as part of The Nimbin Transitional Housing Units, which house homeless or at risk of becoming homeless youth for three to six month periods.

"Not all of them have come from the nicest of places in the past, but they're all doing really well and I want to support them in that," Mr Mayne said.

"One of the young people has just got a job so we're starting to work on an exit plan for him, and another has just got an apprenticeship.

"The idea is to get their stability sorted and to move on into private rentals and become independent."

Bunnings donated all the items needed to complete the renovations, including the paint brushes, paint, the raised garden beds, dirt, mulch, and all the tools needed including a hose to maintain the gardens.

Volunteers from the Northern Rivers Social Development Council, North Coast Community Housing, Bunnings and other community members got on board to help with painting and building the gardens.



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