Thursday, 25 February 2021
Springwood Community Garden, Macquarie Electorate: Headspace
Four years ago I visited a patch of paddock on the grounds of St Thomas Aquinas and St Columba's and was told a beautiful garden would emerge. Well, sure enough, Springwood Community Garden has become a bountiful place. At the weekend, I watched the bees feasting on plants in the bee-and-butterfly bed in the permaculture garden. As he was there to open the garden four years ago, so Australia's favourite gardener, Costa Georgiadis, was there to celebrate the birthday. Manu, a budding permaculture student, who designed the garden—she described it as an act of self-healing and an opening a new future to her, as she now runs her own business—was there to witness its progress. Manu is the creator of Farm It Forward, another initiative, where private gardens are used by volunteers to grow produce. We also heard about the Edible Garden trail, which COVID interrupted. The hundreds of people gathered there, many of whom have worked on the garden over many years, couldn't help but be reminded about how good it feels to get your hands dirty and watch things grow. I also want to give a shout-out to Moochy Kids Family Day Care, who were there to raise funds for HeartKids, which supports the eight babies born every day with a heart defect.
Getting your hands dirty—in fact, getting your hands muddy—was the order of the day out the back of the Katoomba headspace at the weekend, with Lis Bastian from the Big Fix continuing her work with young people in creating a permaculture garden. The barren space at the back of the headspace building has long been an eyesore, but Liz saw the potential for both training young people in permaculture and creating more private spaces at the centre where young people could hang out in that backyard. I was pleased to be able to lend a hand with the pond, edging it with rocks; although, the kids and Lis had done the hard yards in digging and mulching the area. I have a renewed passion for cardboard when it comes to mulching now! It was also terrific to see the start of the worm farms. While this is a satellite headspace, and it's not funded to provide full services, I have no doubt that the strong collaborative approach, which is always evident in the upper mountains, will ensure that it can offer a variety of touchpoints to connect kids to the centre. This garden is definitely one of those. What is concerning is that in its first few months, 80 per cent of the young people who've come to the centre have reported suicide ideation, and that shows the very high need there and the high level of services still required for that area. We know those same services are needed in the Hawkesbury, where there is no headspace. It is absolutely urgent and crucial that a headspace be delivered for the Hawkesbury so that they get the benefits that we're seeing in the upper mountains.